Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global are reportedly engaged in early-stage merger discussions, as confirmed by sources familiar with the matter speaking to CNBC.
CEO David Zaslav of Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount CEO Bob Bakish convened on Tuesday to explore the potential contours of a merger. The sources, who chose to remain anonymous due to the private nature of the talks, revealed that discussions are at a preliminary stage, and the outcome remains uncertain.
The news surfaces amid increasing speculation about Paramount’s future. Controlling shareholder Shari Redstone, who holds sway over Paramount through her company National Amusements, is reportedly keen on striking a deal. Recent reports suggest Paramount has been in talks with Skydance, a media company supported by Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird investment firm.
Paramount, known for its eponymous movie studio and CBS broadcast network, is grappling with a substantial debt burden. In contrast, Warner Bros. Discovery, a product of the Warner Media and Discovery merger, has been diligently cutting costs and addressing debt under the leadership of David Zaslav.
The company has asserted that its streaming business is now profitable, distinguishing itself in a market where several streaming platforms are working to reverse losses, with Netflix leading the pack. As of now, it’s essential to note that these discussions are in the early stages, and the eventual realization of a deal remains uncertain.