WarnerMedia and AT&T-owned Discovery merged to form Warner Bros. Discovery, a “world’s first standalone media and entertainment company”. The merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery was first announced in May 2021. According to press releases, the merger will see AT&T receive US$43 billion in cash and debt. Meanwhile, AT&T shareholders will receive shares representing 71% of Warner Bros. Discovery, and Discovery shareholders will own the remaining 29%. At closing, AT&T received US$40.4 billion in cash and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt.
According to a statement from Warner Bros. Discovery, the merger combines WarnerMedia’s premium entertainment, sports and news assets with Discovery’s leading non-fiction and international entertainment and sports businesses, including Discovery Channel, Discovery+, Warner Bros. Entertainment, CNN, CNN+, DC , Eurosport, HBO, HBO Max, HGTV, Food Network, Investigation Discovery, TBS, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, New Line Cinema, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Turner Classic Movies, among others.
Warner Bros. Discovery will also begin trading on the Nasdaq as “WBD”, beginning April 11, 2022.
David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, said it was confident it could provide more choice to consumers around the world while fostering creativity and creating shareholder value. “Through our collective strengths and diverse business model, Warner Bros. Discovery offers the most differentiated and comprehensive content portfolio for film, TV and streaming. I look forward to the two teams coming together to making Warner Bros. Discovery the best place for impactful storytelling,” he added.
Additionally, AT&T CEO John Stankey said the merger of the two companies will strengthen WarnerMedia’s established and leading position in media and streaming. Meanwhile, AT&T plans to use funds from the transaction to “invest at record levels” in its 5G and fiber growth areas, while focusing more on shareholder returns. “We plan to invest for growth, strengthen our balance sheet and reduce our debt, while continuing to pay an attractive dividend that puts us among the most dividend-paying stocks in America,” Stankey said.
Warner Bros. Discovery also has its management team before the launch of the company. Among the company’s new appointments are Jean-Briac Perrette as CEO and President, Global Streaming and Interactive Entertainment, and David Leavy as Director of General Affairs. In her new role, Parrette will be responsible for HBO Max and Discovery+, as well as all D2C and games globally. He was previously President and CEO of Discovery Networks International. Meanwhile, Leavy, former chief operating officer at Discovery, will oversee key business functions and groups, including corporate relations, global government relations and public policy, corporate marketing, global communications, corporate research, events and social responsibility.
Additionally, Warner Bros. Discovery has announced that it will appoint a new head of diversity, equity and inclusion at a later date. The role will report jointly to the CEO and Director of People and Culture Adria Alpert Romm. The company is also actively seeking to serve as Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery Sports, reporting to the CEO.
Separately, Cartoonito, WarnerMedia’s home entertainment brand for young children, debuted in the Asian market as a dedicated morning programming block on Cartoon Network. Cartoonito first hit Japanese television on March 1 and launched in Southeast Asia and Korea on March 28. Tentpole shows in Southeast Asia and Korea include Lucas the Spider, Esme & Roy and dinosaur ranch. On top of that, there’s a growing list of new series and libraries in a range that celebrates individuality and champions creativity and compassion – part of the educational and human-centered approach to learning from Cartoonito. The programming block is organized and designed to appeal to a greater number of children, from the age of two. “While Cartoon Network typically appeals to children around five and older, Cartoonito encourages a co-viewing experience so the block is also popular with parents and caregivers,” the WarnerMedia spokesperson said. INTERACTIVE-MARKETING so.
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