Hot "dbr" news from the media industry. 😊
Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global are in early merger talks! For now, both companies have declined to comment more on this, so please don't take this as a done deal. This information is from a source at CNBC.
The CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery $WBD+0.0% David Zaslav and Paramount $PARA+0.0% CEO Bob Bakish met Tuesday to discuss the contours of a possible deal, said the source, who declined to be named because the talks are private. The talks are preliminary and a deal may not materialize.
The news comes at a time when speculation about Paramount's future is heating up. Shari Redstone controls Paramount through her company National Amusements. According to several reports, Paramount was recently in talks with Skydance, a media company backed by Gerry Cardinale's investment company RedBird.
Paramount, whose assets include the eponymous movie studio and the CBS broadcast network, also carries significant debt.
Warner Bros. Discovery, the result of a merger between Warner Media and Discovery, meanwhile, has been cutting costs and attacking debt levels below Zaslav. The company has since said its streaming business has become profitable, while other streamers, outside of leader Netflix, are struggling to reverse losses.
Last month, John Malone of Zaslav and Liberty Media, a shareholder in Warner Bros. Discovery and a board member, apparently hinted that the company was preparing to become a buyer within the next year or two. The broader media industry is widely considered ripe for consolidation. But media executives worry that President Joe Biden's administration could be hostile to a major media merger.