Ascent Media to transfer London plant to Discovery

AP News
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Posted: Dec 22, 2009 4:30 PM

Ascent Media and Discovery Communications Inc., which owns Discovery, TLC and other cable channels, said Tuesday they have signed a nonbinding letter of intent to transfer ownership of Ascent's Chiswick Park facility in London to Discovery in February.

The agreement would extend Ascent Media's role as a technology services provider in Asia for Discovery. In addition, Discovery would agree to sell content on Ascent's global media exchange on a trial basis.

"We designed and built the Discovery Networks Europe facility solely for Discovery's purpose," said Jose Royo, CEO of Ascent Media Group. "After providing comprehensive operational support for the last five years, now is the perfect time to turn over the operation to Discovery."

The media transmission center has the capacity to deliver over 60 television channels in the U.K., Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The 10,000-square foot tapeless facility was designed to accommodate multimedia formats including HD television, 3G mobile technologies and broadband content delivery. Over the past five years, Ascent has launched more than 50 channels on Discovery's behalf.

Financial terms remain subject to final negotiations, the companies said. The boards of both companies need to approve the deal.

Shares of Discovery fell 24 cents to close at $31.46. Shares of Ascent Media Group parent Ascent Media Corp. rose 42 cents to close at $24.51.