Warner Bros. Discovery Merger Could Be Finalized This Week

The multi-billion dollar merger that will add WarnerMedia to Discovery's portfolio, divorcing the studio from its current corporate parent AT&T, could be completed as soon as Friday, according to a new report. Earlier today, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar formally announced that he would leave the company when the merger is complete, leaving current Discovery CEO David Zaslav to lead the new company, which will go by the name Warner Bros. Discovery. The idea at present is that the deal will close on Friday, and Warner Bros. Discovery will be up and running by Monday. 

According to Variety, who first reported this new development, Warner Bros. Discovery will likely hold its first press event midweek next week. There, presumably, they will announce what their first steps are following Kilar's departure.

HBO Max and Discovery Plus will be merged into a single digital platform under Warner Bros. Discovery.

It's a crazy time for Warner, who besides the Discovery merger are also reportedly in the market for a buyer for The CW, a network they co-own with Paramount, the parent company of CBS (and ComicBook.com). That sale is being blamed for the slow pace of renewals for some of The CW's shows, including the Warner Bros.-owned DC's Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman, and CBS's Charmed and Dynasty.

Founded by four brothers in 1923, Warner Bros. is a giant in the film industry, but has changed hands more time than most fans can count.

Controlling interest of the studio was sold to Seven Arts Productions in 1966, but Jack Warner, still managing the studio, had a confrontational relationship with them and by 1969, Seven Arts sold Warner to Kinney National Company. After a financial scandal tarnished the Kinney brand, they became Warner Communications in 1972. For a time, it seemed like Warner was a big dog, buying up companies like DC Comics, Six Flags, and Lormiar. In 1989, Warner merged with Time Inc., publishers of Time and Life magazines, who were almost immediately forced to buy Warner Bros. after a hostile takeover attempt by Paramount (who, funny enough, wanted Time, not Warner). In 2000, internet service provider America Online bought Time-Warner, Inc. to form AOL Time Warner, but when the dot-com bubble burst, that partnership dissolved quickly.

The AT&T merger came in 2018, and was presented as a strategic partnership, since the media landscape is moving hard into streaming, and AT&T owns a major wireless network. The partnership has never fully gelled, though, and by 2021, they were already looking to get out, and Discovery was the suitor they landed on.

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Hey, at least AT&T lasted longer before they threw their hands up in despair than Seven Arts did, right?