Discovery clears Food Network hurdle as it prepares to leave Silver Spring

WASHINGTON — Discovery Communications has received approval from the U.S. Justice Department for its planned $12 billion acquisition of the parent company of Food Network and HGTV.

Discovery announced plans to acquire Knoxville, Tennessee-based Scripps Networks Interactive in July 2017. The deal still requires approval by regulators in Ireland and other closing conditions, but the acquisition is expected to close before the end of the first quarter.

That merger is behind Discovery’s decision to leave its longtime Silver Spring headquarters for a new headquarters in New York, a move expected to be made by 2019.

Discovery said it has an obligation to shareholders to run a business in the most effective way. New York is home to top advertising and marketing partners for both companies.

Discovery will maintain a presence in Maryland and in Sterling, Virginia, as well as Knoxville.

Discovery had $6.8 billion in 2017 revenue, led by growth at its international networks. It lost $337 million in 2017.

Discovery employs about 1,300 people full-time locally.

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