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As more and more countries lay in fiber-optic pipe, cable conglomerates have discovered an increasing sideline in international programming and distribution. Nowhere has that been true as much as it has at Discovery Communications, which today directly purchased SBS Nordic, part of Germany-based conglomerate ProSieben, for 1.33 billion euros (about $1.7 billion).
Discovery also bought a 20 percent stake in Eurosport, TF1's soccer-centric ESPN equivalent in Europe, which has "five different networks in 59 countries, with 130 million subscribers in Europe," according to Mark Hollinger, president of Discovery Networks International.