Discovery merges with WarnerMedia and a new name has now been announced for the combined company: Warner Bros. discovery, according to The Wall Street Journal. The name was revealed during a staff meeting.
The merger was announced last month. AT&T said it would spin off WarnerMedia — the entertainment giant that includes Warner Bros., HBO, DC Comics and CNN — and that Discovery would acquire the new company. But they hadn’t prepared a new name the day the deal was announced.
Discovery CEO David Zaslav will lead the merged group. However, WarnerMedia is by far the bigger company, with about three times its 2020 revenue and an array of iconic characters and properties. Discovery brings to the table a huge archive of reality TV shows and a growing news and sports business in Europe.
AT&T and Discovery expect the merger to close in mid-2020, assuming it removes regulatory hurdles. AT&T shareholders will own 71 percent of the new company, so it’s really more like WarnerMedia being freed from AT&T and picking up Discovery along the way.
The hope is that the combined entertainment giant can become an even bigger player in streaming than the two are independent today. WarnerMedia runs HBO Max, which has been fairly successful so far, although it remains smaller than Netflix and Disney Plus. Discovery only recently launched Discovery Plus. Zaslav has said the combined company will invest $20 billion a year in new content, a number that can rival Netflix and surpass Disney Plus, and that he hopes to eventually reach 400 million households.