AT&T Announces $43 billion deal Merging WarnerMedia with Discovery


AT&T has been struggling with what to do with WarnerMedia after its acquisition of Time Warner about three years ago. The tech company had purchased the content company during the rush for tech companies to deliver exclusive content and entice subscribers to their services like cellular coverage. That trend fizzled as quickly as it started and WarnerMedia has been generally rudderless with directions that seemed to change every few months.

Today brings news that AT&T that it is creating a new media company with Discovery to manage WarnerMedia.

AT&T will unwind its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. AT&T will receive an amount of $43 billion a combination of cash, debt, and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt. AT&T shareholders will receive stock for 71% of the new company and Discovery shareholders will own 29%. Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav will lead the new company. The board will have 13 members, seven initially from AT&T and six from Discovery, including Zaslav.

The deal is expected to close in the middle of 2022 but still needs to be approved by regulators.

Discovery has been making moves through acquisition and consolidating its organization. The company acquired Scripps in 2017 which included HGTV and Travel Channel in a $14.6 billion deal. The company has done well pushing its non-scripted entertainment. With their own app, the company has 15 million paying subscribers. HBO and HBO Max have about 64 million subscribers. Discovery’s control of WarnerMedia would give the company a boost in scripted entertainment and a natural extension of their brand.