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Discovery, AT&T Close $43B WarnerMedia Deal, Creating Warner Bros. Discovery

Discovery
(Image credit: Discovery)

NEW YORK & DALLAS—Discovery, Inc. and AT&T Inc. announced on April 8 that they have closed their transaction to combine the WarnerMedia business with Discovery. The combination creates Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc., which will begin trading on the Nasdaq with the start of trading on Monday, April 11, under the new ticker symbol “WBD.” 

Discovery announced the new executive leadership team for the company earlier in the week prior to closing the deal. 

The new company 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, TLC, TNT, TBS, truTV, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, New Line Cinema, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies and others. 

“Today’s announcement marks an exciting milestone not just for Warner Bros. Discovery but for our shareholders, our distributors, our advertisers, our creative partners and, most importantly, consumers globally,” said David Zaslav, Warner Bros. Discovery chief executive officer. “With our collective assets and diversified business model, Warner Bros. Discovery offers the most differentiated and complete portfolio of content across film, television and streaming. We are confident that we can bring more choice to consumers around the globe while fostering creativity and creating value for shareholders. I can’t wait for both teams to come together to make Warner Bros. Discovery the best place for impactful storytelling.”

“We are at the dawn of a new age of connectivity, and today marks the beginning of a new era for AT&T,” said John Stankey, AT&T chief executive officer. “With the close of this transaction, we expect to invest at record levels in our growth areas of 5G and fiber, where we have strong momentum, while we work to become America’s best broadband company.”

Under terms of the agreement, which was structured as a Reverse Morris Trust transaction, at close AT&T received $40.4 billion in cash and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt. 

Additionally, shareholders of AT&T received 0.241917 shares of WBD for each share of AT&T common stock they held at close. As a result, AT&T shareholders received 1.7 billion shares of WBD, representing 71% of WBD shares on a fully diluted basis. 

Discovery’s existing shareholders own the remainder of the new company. In addition to their new shares of WBD common stock, AT&T shareholders continue to hold the same number of shares of AT&T common stock they held immediately prior to close.

Discovery announced the new executive leadership team (opens in new tab) for the company earlier this week. 

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.