Warner Bros. Discovery CEO Says Company's "Not For Sale" Amid NBCUniversal Merger Rumors

Warner Bros. Discovery has been in the headlines for a wide array of reasons in recent months, as the newly-minted media company has made some buzzworthy and unexpected business decisions. As the company has tried to cut down a reported $55 million in debt by cancelling nearly-completed projects and moving existing movies and shows off of its HBO Max streaming service, some have wondered exactly what the financial endgame will entail. A recent report from industry analysts suggested that a possible outcome could be a merger between Warner Bros. Discovery and NBC Universal — but CEO David Zaslav is reportedly shutting down. According to new reporting, Zaslav recently told employees at a company town hall that the company is "not for sale."

"We are not for sale," Zaslav reportedly said (via Variety). "We have everything we need to be successful."

The rumor of a Warner Bros. Discovery and NBC Universal merger began from The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month, with sources cited in the report arguing that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts could end up having his sights set on Zaslav's company, once negotiations could begin around April of 2024.

"Obviously Peacock sucks," an exec with knowledge of both companies said in the report. "There are some good synergies. I'm sure [Roberts] is licking his chops because the [WBD] stock is so low. And I think that's Zaslav's endgame. Get the place sold."

In the months since Warner Bros. Discovery's merger initially went through, the company has cancelled a number of potential or upcoming projects, including Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt, both of which were already in the post-production phase. They've also entirely cut the development of scripted programming at TNT and TBS, even scrapping shows that were just days or hours away from premiering. Recently, they also removed a number of exclusive movies and shows from HBO Max, including Infinity Train, Aquaman: King of Atlantis, and The Witches. While that has stoked a lot of fear in the minds of fans, Zaslav has publicly reiterated that it's all part of a "strategic shift" for the overall company.

"We've looked hard at the at the direct-to-streaming business," Zaslav explained during an investor call last month. "We've seen, luckily, by having access now to all the data, how direct-to-streaming movies perform, and our conclusion is that expensive direct-to-streaming movies, in terms of how people are consuming them on the platform, how often people go there or buy it, or buy a service for it, and how it gets nourished over time. It's no comparison to what happens when you launch a film in the theaters. So this idea of expensive films going directly to streaming, we cannot find an economic case for it. We can't find an economic value for it. And so we're making a strategic shift, as part of that."

What do you think of David Zaslav's new comments about the future of Warner Bros. Discovery? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!