The stock of Discovery jumped more than 5 percent before the stock market opened on Thursday after a CNBC report suggested that the cable networks group behind the likes of Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and HGTV could be ready to sell to CBS Corp. or CBS-Viacom, if the two companies recombine.
Discovery, however, in a statement said it was not interested in a sale. The CNBC report, which cited unnamed sources, said that the firm “would be interested in selling to CBS or a combined CBS-Viacom.”
“The CNBC story is inaccurate. Discovery is not for sale,” David Leavy, Discovery’s chief corporate operations officer said in a statement. “We remain extremely confident in our growth strategy in the U.S. and globally as we continue to build the leading portfolio of superfan brands in every market around the world.”
CNBC cited sources as saying that Discovery was interested in a deal with CBS or CBS-Viacom and that Viacom and CBS vice chair Shari Redstone, whose family’s National Amusements owns controlling stakes in both companies, was interested in following up a potential deal recombining the two with a deal for Discovery or such potential other targets as Sony Pictures or MGM. The report emphasized that no talks between Discovery and CBS have taken place.
A representative for Redstone declined to comment. CBS couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Discovery is led by CEO David Zaslav, who last year extended his contract with the company through 2023.
The CNBC report came ahead of a regularly scheduled CBS board meeting that is expected to include latest discussions about potential M&A strategies and the process of selecting a new CEO.