Discovery, AT&T seal WarnerMedia deal, CEO David Zaslav gets to work

Shares of Warner Bros. Discovery trade under the ticker symbol "WBD"

Discovery Inc. began trading on the Nasdaq under a new name and ticker symbol following the completion of its merger with AT&T's WarnerMedia on Friday, giving Discovery CEO David Zaslav the green light to get to work in melding the brands. 

President/CEO Discovery, INC. David Zaslav attends the 2019 Mirror Awards at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 13, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

The new combined company, dubbed Warner Bros. Discovery, will offer a vast portfolio of content, brands and franchises across television, film and streaming, 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.

"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," Zaslav said. "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."

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
WBD WARNER BROS. DISCOVERY INC. 13.66 -0.42 -2.98%
T AT&T INC. 20.62 -0.19 -0.91%

Shares of Warner Brothers Discovery and AT&T both rose during Monday's down session. According to the Wall Street Journal, some data providers did not adjust the historical prices of AT&T's stock to reflect the WarnerMedia spinoff, initially making it appear as those the telecommunications giant was down more than 18%. 

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Under the terms of the agreement, which was structured as a Reverse Morris Trust transaction, AT&T received $40.4 billion in cash and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt at Friday's close. Additionally, AT&T shareholders received 0.241917 shares of WBD for each share of AT&T common stock they held at close.

AT&T shareholders received 1.7 billion shares of WBD, representing 71% of WBD shares on a fully diluted basis. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

In total, 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.

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AT&T CEO John Stankey said that Discovery is "well positioned to lead the transformation that’s taking place across media and entertainment, direct-to-consumer distribution and technology." As of the end of 2021, Discovery has a total of 22 million subscribers across its direct-to-consumer video services, including Discovery+, while HBO Max and HBO have 73.8 million subscribers globally. 

"We look forward to seeing what the WBD team accomplishes with these industry-leading assets," he added.

The new combined company, dubbed Warner Bros. Discovery, will offer a vast portfolio of content, brands and franchises across television, film and streaming, including Discovery Channel, Discovery+, Warner Bros. Entertainment, CNN, CNN+, HBO, HBO Max (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for WarnerMedia / Getty Images)

Zaslav will reportedly begin the work of integration by visiting various Warner offices this week and greeting employees at New York City's Hudson Yards, CNN's D.C. bureau and locations in Atlanta and Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Stankey says that AT&T's future plans include investing at record levels in growth areas such as 5G and fiber, strengthening its balance sheet and reducing its debt.