US Regulators OK $43B WarnerMedia-Discovery Merger


AT&T’s plan to spin off WarnerMedia in a $43 billion merger deal with competitor Discovery to create a TV, film and streaming dynamo, will proceed, according to Discovery’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)  Wednesday (Feb. 8).

The transaction will combine WarnerMedia’s library of sports, news, and family entertainment, with Discovery’s collection of local content and regional expertise from more than 200 countries.

Read more: AT&T’s WarnerMedia Merging With Discovery In $43 Billion Mega Deal

Content for the new company is expected to include an expanded library of original shows, more programming options, and innovative video experiences and consumer choices. The new media and entertainment giant will be called Warner Bros. Discovery.

At the time of the planned merger last year, AT&T CEO John Stankey said WarnerMedia and Discovery have complementary content strengths and the merger makes the new entity in a position of being among leading global direct-to-consumer streaming platforms.

According to securities filings, Discovery said that the parties didn’t receive objections from the DOJ or the Federal Trade Commission, during the review period, clearing the way for the deal to close in the second quarter.

Last year, wireless carrier AT&T made the decision to separate WarnerMedia, which it bought in 2018 for $81 billion after an antitrust fight the U.S. Department of Justice under the Trump administration.

Overseas, European antitrust regulators have already signed off. Discovery shareholders still must approve it.

At the close of 2021, the top eight U.S. media groups were expected to spend at least $115 billion on new content while video streaming loses them money.

Read also: With Subscriber Growth Slowing, Media Groups Spend $115B on Streaming Content

The companies, including Walt Disney, Comcast, WarnerMedia and Amazon, will see losses on streaming units, with aggregate spending hitting around $140 billion, including sports.