Telecom big AT&T on Monday introduced a deal to spin off its content material home WarnerMedia and merge it with Discovery, creating a large studio that would compete with streaming rivals Netflix and Disney.
The 2 firms mentioned AT&T will obtain $43 billion in a mixture of money, debt and WarnerMedia’s retention of sure debt for the deal. Present AT&T shareholders will obtain inventory representing 71 p.c of the newly fashioned firm, whereas Discovery shareholders will management 29 p.c, the joint announcement mentioned.
WarnerMedia, which was referred to as Warner Bros when it was acquired by AT&T by the acquisition of Time Warner in 2018 for $109 billion, contains CNN, HBO in addition to cable channels TNT and TBS. Discovery focuses extra on reality-focused TV channels, such because the Meals Community and HGTV.
The merger may create a brand new media behemoth valued round $150 billion.
It’s the newest instance of consolidation within the media business because the once-colossal firms battle to regulate to new client calls for as extra Individuals minimize their cable subscriptions and go for streaming. The mixture of WarnerMedia and Discovery would possibly set the merged firm as much as higher compete with established streaming gamers Netflix and Disney, which owns Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+, Amazon Prime Video and others.
“I’ll be in New York, I’ll be in LA, anyplace on this planet the place the creatives are to attempt to drive the very best artistic tradition instantly right now, as a result of that’s what’s going to make us the nice firm — and the nice streaming firm — that John and I began speaking about a couple of months in the past,” David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery, mentioned at a press convention. Zaslav will lead the mixed firm, in line with the announcement.
The deal additionally represents a change in fact for AT&T, which had sought lately to combine content material manufacturing and distribution. It’s spin off of WarnerMedia successfully reverses these plans.
“This settlement unites two leisure leaders with complementary content material strengths and positions the brand new firm to be one of many main world direct-to-consumer streaming platforms,” John Stankey, CEO of AT&T, mentioned in a press release. “AT&T shareholders will retain their stake in our main communications firm that comes with a horny dividend. Plus, they may get a stake within the new firm, a worldwide media chief that may construct one of many high streaming platforms on this planet.”
Shares of AT&T had been up nearly 5 p.c within the premarket after the announcement. Uncover inventory was up about 15 p.c.