Back in May came the news that AT&T was taking WarnerMedia and splitting it off into a brand new media conglomerate that will merge WB and Discovery, with the new entity seemingly called Warner Bros. Discovery. Speaking at a conference today, representatives for both companies revealed that the regulatory processes to have the merger approved are ongoing and they see no reason for it to be stalled (unlike the planned acquisition of MGM by Amazon which reportedly faces more scrutiny). Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels and AT&T CFO Pascal Desroches opened up about it, predicting that the process could be done and the new company revealed to the world in the first half of next year.
“We are exactly where we thought we would be at this stage of the process, and we expect the transaction to close in the first half of 2022. So we’re really pleased with how that’s moving along,” Desroches said during the Bank of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference (H/T Deadline). “Here is the reality. When you look at the rules around antitrust, there is no reason why this merger should not be approved – especially given the changes in competitive landscape and the participation by big tech companies in media. When you look at the traditional rules of antitrust, we feel really good about the ability of this to be approved.”
This new company will result in both WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and Discovery’s Discovery+ streaming services being owned by one entity. Though no plans have been announced for how they’ll handle having both of these streamers under one roof, whether they’ll merge them or simply have a bundle like Disney+ and Hulu, a plan is already in place for what will be done.
“We have our go-to-market strategy essentially ready,” Wiedenfels added. “We’ve got our ducks aligned here [but] obviously, as you know, we’re not in a position to speak about that right now,”
The new company, co-owned by Discovery and AT&T, will take the slogan “the stuff that dreams are made of,” borrowed from the Warner Bros. Pictures movie The Maltese Falcon. Warner Bros. Discovery will become the umbrella that houses such brands as HBO, Warner Bros., Discovery, CNN, WB Games, Turner Sports, Cartoon Network, HGTV, Food Network, TNT, TBS, Turner Classic Movies, Wizarding World, Adult Swim, Eurosport, Magnolia, TLC, Animal Planet, ID, and others. Some comic book fans wonder what this means for the future of DC, the publisher of comics featuring Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, among many others, which is included in the merger.