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Discovery Invests in French Net

Discovery Networks International said Tuesday that it has acquired a 20% equity stake in Televista, a French PayTV company specializing in the female lifestyle market.

Under the agreement, DNI becomes a strategic partner to Televista and will contribute to the development of its female lifestyle channels business. Discovery Networks also will provide strategic counsel and access to its female lifestyle library of programming.

The equity investment supplements a content supply agreement already announced by the two companies in January 2012.

"I am very pleased to welcome Discovery Networks International, the largest non-fiction media company in the world to Televista," said Televista CEO Gaspard de Chavagnac in a statement. "Discovery will bring both expertise and content we need to accelerate our development especially in Free DTT channels where Discovery is already present in Italy, Spain and Germany."

Televista applied for a female lifestyle DTT channel on Jan. 10.

"France is a very important market for us and we are delighted to be able to make this investment in Televista," said Discovery Networks Western Europe president and managing director Dee Forbes in a statement. "We have a strong understanding of the female lifestyle market and are looking forward to partnering with Gaspard and his team. We have also launched a series of free to air channels across Western Europe over the last three years to complement our core paytv business. We are excited by Televista's future French plans and the opportunity to bring our popular female lifestyle programming to viewers."

Building its female lifestyle portfolio, TLC and Real Time across 170 markets, DNI has reached 135 million subscribers in just 20 months. In September 2010, Discovery launched Real Time in Italy as a free to air channel in Italy. In less than 18 months it has become the No. 8 commercial channel among women aged 20-49.