The Future. WBD CEO David Zaslav has spoken to both Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish and National Amusements Inc. president Shari Redstone about a merger. While WBD is one of many parties vying for the entertainment conglomerate, a deal could get past regulators since WBD doesn’t own a broadcast network — one of the reasons why Disney also wasn’t blocked from purchasing 20th Century Fox. That is, if all of this isn’t a ploy to juice up WBD’s own value for a potential merger with NBCUniversal next year.
- The deal would combine two studios (Warner Bros. and Paramount), two news giants (CBS and CNN), and two sports powerhouses (CBS Sports and Turner Sports), among many other assets.
- Additionally, it would combine Max/Discovery+ (95 million subscribers) and Paramount+ (63 million subscribers) to form a streamer that could compete with Netflix and Disney+ (which is in the process of adding Hulu).
- But, BET will likely not be a part of the deal — Byron Allen and BET CEO Scott Mills are in talks to buy the brand.
It’s still early days, and WBD can’t make a deal until April per the terms of the agreement that merged WarnerMedia and Discovery. Still, WBD execs felt like they had to engage in talks with Paramount after other bidders started circling (Skydance with RedBird Capital, outgoing Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick).
No matter what, it looks like Shari Redstone is entertaining as many offers as she can — hoping the interest boosts the stock as much as possible before she settles on a suitor.