October 15, 2007, 12:00 AM

Discovery pushes its TV-Internet plans with purchase of HowStuffWorks.com

As part of a move to get more unique, entertaining and educational video content on its web sites, Discovery Communications Inc. has agreed to acquire HowStuffWorks.com, which garners about 11 million unique monthly visitors, Discovery said today.

As part of a move to get more unique, entertaining and educational video content on its web sites, Discovery Communications Inc. has agreed to acquire HowStuffWorks.com, which garners about 11 million unique monthly visitors, from The Convex Group Inc., Discovery said today. Terms were not disclosed.

“With HowStuffWorks, Discovery now has a solid platform for strengthening our digital businesses, leveraging our video assets to create new experiences for users, advertisers and our distribution partners, and taking those opportunities around the globe,” says David Zaslav, president and CEO, Discovery Communications, No. 186 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

HowStuffWorks, founded in 1998 by a professor at the University of North Carolina, provides written content that explains in detail a wide range of topics related to popular science and technology-the physics and engineering behind roller coasters, for example, and the neuron structure and workings of the human brain. Much of its content is also highlighted by complementary online videos.

But Discovery, which also owns TV programming about science and technology including MythBusters and How It’s Made, plans to broadly expand its development of TV programming-including a new program titled How Stuff Works-that can be easily edited to short video clips to further enrich the online content on HowStuffWorks.com and other online platforms, the company says.

Discovery expects the additional content on HowStuffWorks.com and its other online properties to help it stand out in the increasingly crowded Internet. "In the fragmented world of the Internet, with more and more people accessing information through search engines, high-quality content will be increasingly important," said Bruce Campbell, president, digital media and business development at Discovery Communications. "The natural alignment between Discovery`s video clips that span so many genres and contextually relevant HowStuffWorks articles will expose our programming to a wider audience and drive more visitors to HowStuffWorks and our other online properties."

As part of the HowStuffWorks.com transaction, Discovery will also acquire a portfolio of other digital properties owned by HowStuffWorks and Convex Group that complement the Discovery brands. These other properties include expert ratings and reviews content from ConsumerGuide.com, a database of digitized maps from GeoNova Group (formerly MapQuest Publishing), and QuickCompliance, a medical education content business.

Discovery will also gain a minority equity position in HSW International, a publicly traded entity that has the language rights to HowStuffWorks content and brand in Brazil and China. Discovery plans to enter a licensing agreement to provide content rights to HSW International in those two countries.

HowStuffWorks will continue to be based in Atlanta and has “no immediate plans to significantly change” its operations or 160-person workforce, Discovery says. Jeff Arnold, the founder of WebMD and Convex Group, will continue in his role as CEO of HowStuffWorks. Discovery’s acquisition of HowStuffWorks is subject to approvals and expected to close in the fourth quarter. Discovery was advised in the acquisition plan by Lehman Brothers and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, and HowStuffWorks was advised by Allen & Co. and Alsteon + Bird LLP.

Discovery’s acquisition of HowStuffWorks is subject to approvals and expected to close in the fourth quarter. Discovery was advised in the acquisition plan by Lehman Brothers and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, and HowStuffWorks was advised by Allen & Co. and Alston + Bird LLP.

The deal for HowStuffWorks follows other recent acquisitions by Discovery. Discovery’s Animal Planet Media unit purchased Petfinder.com and its Planet Green TV network acquired TreeHugger.com.

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