WarnerMedia, Discovery Complete Tie-Up

AT&T WarnerMedia unit and Discovery have completed their merger, the companies said on Friday.

The combined company, Warner Bros Discovery Inc, will start trading on the Nasdaq on Monday under the ticker symbol “WBD”.

In May last year, the companies set out to merge and become a standalone media business, with AT&T aiming to focus more on its wireless ambitions and Discovery looking to beef up its content library.

“With the close of this transaction, we expect to invest at record levels in our growth areas of 5G and fiber, where we have strong momentum,” AT&T Chief Executive Officer John Stankey said in a statement.

Warner Bros Discovery’s portfolio includes Discovery Channel, Warner Bros. Entertainment, CNN, HBO, Cartoon Network; streaming services Discovery+ and HBO Max; and franchises like “Batman” and “Harry Potter”.

A top priority for David Zaslav, the long-time Discovery veteran leading the combined entity, is to make streaming video as profitable as the old TV business, analysts said.

Among the focal points of the deal – and for antitrust scrutiny of the deal – was the future of WarnerMedia’s HBO Max streaming service and how it might be integrated with Dicovery+.

The services would be joined to create a more diverse platform attracting a wider audience through its increased offering of both original and third-party content, with HBO Max’s more “masculine” scripted series complementing Discovery’s reality shows, with its largely female audience.

Discovery On Thursday announced the executive team to lead the new Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), leaning heavily on a trusted group of lieutenants, many of whom have worked with its chief executive since his days at NBC.

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.