The merger—which includes Discovery entities like Animal Planet, TLC and HGTV and WB entities like HBO, CNN, TNT, Turner Sports, and the Warner Bros. movie studio—was first announced back in May of 2021, and will be manned by CEO David Zaslav, per CNN.
“I am confident that our collective energy and genuine love for these businesses and brands will build the world’s most dynamic media and entertainment company,” Zaslav wrote in a memo to employees, adding that Warner Bros. Discovery “can propel the creation of high-quality content; create more opportunity for under-represented storytellers and independent creators; and serve customers with more innovative video experiences and points of engagement.”
Zaslav now says he believes the company is “well positioned to become a top-tier streaming competitor,” and that HBO Max and discovery+ will be brought “into a single product in the future.”The agreement will also allow AT&T—which previously owned Warner Media—to pay off debt, per The Verge.
“This is a merger that makes a lot of sense,” UVA’s Darden School of Business professor Anthony Palomba told The Verge. “If you look at the stocks for AT&T — which has been on the downward trend for about the last five years — and then you look at Discovery, which has been on a downward trend for maybe almost a decade now, it made sense to make this.”
The company is now looking to $3 billion in “synergies,” which likely means layoffs, per CNN. Some executives at Warner have now left the company, including WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar. CNN will be operated separately from the new company, and Chris Licht will be the chairman and CEO of CNN Global.