By Benjamin Mullin 

Discovery Inc. Chief Executive David Zaslav received total compensation valued at $129.4 million in 2018, more than three times his compensation the year before, the company said in a securities filing Friday.

The compensation package makes Mr. Zaslav the highest paid U.S. executive of 2018, according to filings so far. His salary in 2018 remained flat at $3 million. The raise is largely the result of a substantial increase in stock-option awards tied to the contract extension Mr. Zaslav signed last year.

That employment agreement runs through 2023. The burst of options grants was accounted for in 2018; his annual compensation for the remainder of his deal will return to levels more consistent with earlier years, a company spokesman said.

The payout came during a year where Mr. Zaslav closed Discovery's $11.9 billion acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive Inc., parent of HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel. That merger was aimed at solidifying Discovery's footing among female TV audiences, creating a more balanced advertising profile for the company.

In 2018, revenue grew 54% to $10.5 billion, including the benefit of the Scripps deal. Without the impact of the merger, revenue was up 4% for the year. Shares rose 7% in 2018.

The second-highest paid U.S. executive based on filings so far in 2018 is Robert Iger, the chief executive of Walt Disney Co., who pulled in about $66 million in total compensation, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from MyLogIQ. The median compensation was $12.2 million.

Under the terms of Mr. Zaslav's 2018 employment agreement, his target bonus will be $22 million in 2019 and remain at that level for each subsequent year of the term. The actual bonus he will receive will depend on performance.

Write to Benjamin Mullin at Benjamin.Mullin@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 22, 2019 17:43 ET (21:43 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCB)
Historical Stock Chart
From Apr 2020 to May 2020 Click Here for more Discovery Charts.
Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCB)
Historical Stock Chart
From May 2019 to May 2020 Click Here for more Discovery Charts.