AT&T is nearing an agreement to merge its internal unit Warner Media with rival Discovery to create a $ 150bn media giant, just years after taking ownership of CNN, HBO and Warner Bros., it is said that people shortened the part of.
AT&T’s board of directors met Sunday to approve the deal, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter. The agreed deal is expected to be announced in the coming days, as people do.
The combination will combine one of Hollywood’s most valuable catalogs – comprising Warner Bros. film and television studios, the HBO network and a portfolio of cable channels including CNN – with Discovery, with the success of a new streaming service aimed at unwritten cooking and home. shows healing.
After years of watching Netflix dominate the streaming scene, most media and tech companies in the world are looking to fight back on their own services. In the past year and a half, Disney, Apple, WarnerMedia, Comcast, Discovery and others have launched streaming platforms as they fight for a share of the future of entertainment.
The structure of the deal remains unclear but AT&T, with a market value of about $ 230bn, is expected to control most of the combined entity. Discovery has a market value of $ 24bn.
AT&T’s decision to merge its internal division with Discovery comes five years after it agreed to take over Time Warner at $ 85.4bn while the telecom company is looking to transform itself into the most vertically integrated content and distribution company.
In 2019, AT&T chief executive John Stankey and Discovery chief David Zaslav discussed merging their program into one streaming service for nearly $ 8 a month (excluding HBO ). But when Disney revealed that they would be offering several Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel and Disney classics at a cost of $ 7 per month for Disney Plus, they rejected the plan. Stankey, however, combined HBO with the rest of WarnerMedia’s program into one product, named HBO Max.
Discovery, the company behind HGTV, network Oprah Winfrey and broadcaster Eurosport, in January launched a $ 5 a month streaming service, in which Zaslav said FT was “the most important bag business ”since he joined the company more than a decade ago.
This was followed by the launch of HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s new flagship streaming service that launched in the US last year for $ 15 a month.
HBO Max and Discovery Plus have given rise to streaming racing. The discovery in April is said to have reached 15m subscribers across the streaming business, while HBO Max registered nearly 3m subscribers in the first quarter, reaching 9.7m retail subscribers at the end of March. .
However, the same companies are competing against even more rivals: Netflix has 208m subscribers worldwide, while Disney Plus attracted 104m subscribers in just a year and a half from launching.
WarnerMedia plans to launch HBO Max in Latin America and parts of Europe by the end of the year.
Bloomberg first reported the news of the talks between AT&T and Discovery. AT&T and Discovery declined to comment.