Warner Bros Discovery merger completed with leadership shakeup

Warner Bros Discovery merger completed with leadership shakeup
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar arrives on the red carpet at the 15th Annual CNN Heroes: All-Star Tribute at the American Museum of Natural History on December 12, 2021 in New York City. Kilar will not continue with Warner Bros Discovery. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | license photo

April 8 (UPI) — The mega merger between the prestigious Hollywood company WarnerMedia and the documentary and reality TV giant Discovery was completed on Friday, creating a new titan in the entertainment industry.

The new company, which is called Warner Bros Discovery, came into being as WarnerMedia’s former owner AT&T was looking to shed billions in debt, according to a Press release of the telecommunications company.

AT&T received $40.4 billion in cash and Warner Bros Discovery took on about $55 billion in debt from the merger, the companies said.

Independent company Warner Bros Discovery will begin trading on Monday under Nasdaq’s new ticker symbol WBD. AT&T shareholders retained their common stock and received a pool of 1.7 billion shares of the new WBD common stock.

David Zaslav, who has been the CEO of Discovery since 2006, will serve as CEO of the new Warner Bros Discovery company.

Jason Kilar, CEO of WarnerMedia, will not join the new company but said in posts made on Twitter on his last day with the company on Friday that he “has never been more satisfied professionally” and praised his employees who are “leading the industry right now.”

“One of the greatest joys of my role has been to champion, encourage, materially increase investment in, and celebrate the stories well told and the talented creative teams and visionaries behind them,” he said.

Kilar, the architect of the company’s HBO Max streaming platform, added that the secrets to WarnerMedia’s success were investing in more diverse teams and stories, noting that 47% of the company’s employees are now women and 41% % are people of color.

“Everyone knows that change can be very difficult, but it is a reality of this world and I am very proud that this team has supported the necessary change in recent years. WarnerMedia used to be a holding company with four companies that did not collaborated. It was very much a wholesaler,” he said.

“Today, WarnerMedia is a singular operating company with a powerful mission to move the world through a clearly articulated story and strategy.”

Zaslav Announced New Leadership Roles at Warner Bros Discovery in a sentence before the full merger, although changes and additional appointments are expected in the coming months.

“We are very excited to unite the heritage and legacies of these two great companies through the creation of Warner Bros Discovery, and I am proud that our new executive management team combines world-class leaders from both organizations as we take our first step. towards a single cohesive and collaborative culture,” he said.

“Today’s announcement combines a strong team of professional managers into a simpler organizational structure, with fewer layers, more responsibility, and a singular strategic focus as a global pure content company. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves with this team so that, together, we can write this exciting next chapter.

The merger sets up Warner Bros Discovery to take on Netflix in streaming, as the company is expected to combine its Discovery Plus and HBO Max streaming services.

Discovery’s networks include its namesake channel, as well as HGTV, Food Network, TLC and Animal Planet, among others, while WarnerMedia’s brands include HBO, CNN, Cartoon Network and DC Comics.


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