AT&T announced Monday a deal that combines AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Discovery.
The new, yet-to-be-named company will become a major Hollywood studio while also embracing the future of streaming.
AT&T tabbed David Zaslav to head the new company. He’s the Discovery president and CEO and would be on the company board of 13 members — seven appointed by AT&T including the chair, and six named by Discovery.
Zaslav told reporters Monday the streaming strategy includes being different from the heavyweights, Disney+ and Netflix, by bringing a combination of news and sports on top of its entertainment properties such as “Game of Thrones” and Harry Potter.
The company now would include CNN, HBO, TNT and TBS — and Warner Bros. — along with Discovery’s Animal Planet, TLC, Discovery’s Food Network, HGTV and others.
Zaslav said the new company will keep CNN and not spin it off. He plans “to take everything we have in news, combine it with CNN and be a world leader in news.”
There’s no doubt that creativity will be a key to success.
“It is super exciting to combine such historic brands, world class journalism and iconic franchises under one roof and unlock so much value and opportunity,” Zaslav said.
The Financial Times reported the new business, separate from AT&T, could be valued at as much as $150 billion, including debt. Also, if the deal goes through, AT&T shareholders would receive stock representing 71% of the new company, while Discovery shareholders would own 29%.
The companies expect to close the deal in the middle of 2022.
HBO and HBO Max reportedly have around 64 million subscribers worldwide. Discovery said last month it had reached 15 million paying subscribers.
Netflix has around 208 million; Disney+ recently surpassed 100 million.
Shares of Discovery Inc. jumped 3 percent to $36.73 Monday. AT&T shares rose 4 percent to $33.51.