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by TV News Desk
Discovery Communications today announced an agreement to acquire Dubai-based media company Takhayal Entertainment and its affiliated companies in Dubai and Egypt, including its flagship TV network, Fatafeat, the #1 food network in the Middle East. The parties are in final stages of formalizing the transfer with the competent authorities. The announcement was made by Takhayal CEO Youssef El-Deeb and Mark Hollinger, CEO of Discovery Networks International.
The transaction is a targeted step by Discovery to further extend its reach in the growing Middle East and North Africa television market, and to further complement and strengthen its existing portfolio of female-targeted lifestyle PAY TV brands, including TLC and Real Time, which are now available in more than 150 countries outside the U.S. The acquisition also will provide access to a vast library of cooking recipes and shows and the company’s production facility.
Hollinger said, “Discovery’s guiding principle has always been to customize our strategy on a region-by-region and market-by-market basis to build the strongest global nonfiction media company bar none. The acquisition of Takhayal, the premier company for cuisine and culinary programming in the Middle East, significantly strengthens our portfolio in this important region and adds content in a genre that has proven popular with our viewers around the globe, including on Real Time in Italy and the UK and on TLC in Poland, Latin America and India. Takhayal’s executives, such as Youssef El-Deeb are exceptionally smart and creative and we look forward to working with them to leverage Takhayal’s strong position in the Arab-speaking world and take Discovery’s female-targeted lifestyle content even deeper into the marketplace.”
“We have had great success with our TV brand Fatafeat, which has become one of the leading TV channels in the Middle East since it launched five years ago, and our slogan ‘Al Hayat Helwa’ (Life is Wonderful) which has been the driving force across our business and we are excited by how the rich expertise of Discovery will enable us to take the business to the next level. We are very honoured to become part of Discovery Communications,” said Takhayal CEO Youssef El-Deeb. “The core expertise of our team is its great creativity and dedication, and this combination has enabled us to achieve very clear brand positioning and stand out amongst the hundreds of Arab TV channels as the leading the lifestyle brand across the Middle East.”
Fatafeat broadcasts to approximately 55 million TV households in the Middle East and North Africa and the in-house studio contains a library of 700 hours of programs, which is added to by 150-200 new hours each year. The popular line-up of shows includes Teslam El Ayadi (family cooking show), Matbakhna El Arabi (Our Arabian Cuisine hosted by award-winning chef, Mohammad Orfali), Shourba Wi Naknaka (Soups and Snacks), Houriyat Al Matbakh (Arabic and international cooking) and Wala Bil Ahlam (‘Dream Desserts’ from Egyptian award winning chef, Nermine Hanno).
Discovery Communications’ portfolio of global brands is led by Discovery Channel, available in 217 markets; Animal Planet, available in more than 200 markets; TLC (including Real Time and Home&Health) Discovery’s global flagship entertainment and lifestyle networks targeting women, now available in over 150 markets; Discovery Science, available in more than 180 markets; Discovery HD, available in 165 markets; and ID: Investigation Discovery, available in more than 135 markets around the world.
Takhayal Entertainment will be managed as part of Discovery’s Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region led by Kasia Kieli, President & Managing Director. Completion of the acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions and is expected to occur during the fourth quarter of 2012. Allen and Overy LLP acted as legal advisers to Discovery on the acquisition.