AT&T's WarnerMedia and Discovery to merge in US$43bn deal

AT&T will merge WarnerMedia’s entertainment, sports and news assets and with Discovery’s nonfiction and international entertainment and sports businesses in a US$43 billion deal. The new standalone global entertainment company will include channels such as HBO, Warner Bros., Discovery, DC Comics, CNN, Cartoon Network, among others. Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav will lead the proposed new company.

The new company's board of directors will consist of 13 members, seven of which are appointed by AT&T, including the chairperson of the board, while Discovery appointed six members, including Zaslav. AT&T's shareholders will own 71% of the company while Discovery shareholders will own 29%. The transaction will combine WarnerMedia’s content library of intellectual property with Discovery’s global footprint, variety of local-language content and regional expertise across more than 200 countries and territories.

The new company will be able to invest in more original content for its streaming services, enhance the programming options across its global linear pay-TV and broadcast channels, and offer more innovative video experiences and consumer choices. Additionally, the new entity will also be able to increase investment and capabilities in original content and programming, create more opportunity for under-represented storytellers and independent creators, serve customers with innovative video experiences and points of engagement, and propel more investment in family-friendly nonfiction content. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to AT&T for additional information.

CEO of AT&T, John Stankey, said the agreement will support the "fantastic growth" and international launch of HBO Max with Discovery’s global footprint and create efficiencies that can be re-invested in producing more great content to give consumers what they want.

Meanwhile, Zaslav said everyone wins from this merger as consumers now get more diverse choices while talent and storytellers have more resources and pathways to larger audiences.

AT&T acquired Time Warner in 2016 for US$85.4 billion. Former AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said previously that this was "a perfect match" of two companies with complementary strengths which can bring a fresh approach to how the media and communications industry works for customers, content creators, distributors and advertisers. Following the acquisition, Time Warner rebranded to WarnerMedia and Stankey was appointed CEO. He previously led the integration planning team in support of the AT&T-Time Warner merger and held the role of CEO – AT&T mobility and entertainment before that.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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