Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav met with Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish on Tuesday in New York City to discuss a possible merger.
The potential merger would give rise to a colossal entity in the news and entertainment sector, potentially sparking additional consolidation within the industry. Zaslav has also engaged in discussions with Shari Redstone, the owner of Paramount’s parent company, regarding a potential deal. As of Wednesday, WBD’s market value stood at approximately $29 billion, surpassing Paramount’s valuation of just over $10 billion, indicating that any merger would not be a merger of equals.
According to multiple sources, the two companies explored potential synergies, considering merging their primary streaming services, Paramount+ and Max, to enhance competition against Netflix and Disney+. The specific acquisition target, whether Paramount Global or its parent company National Amusements Inc. (NAI), remains uncertain. However, sources indicate that both possibilities are being considered. WBD has reportedly enlisted the services of bankers to examine the potential deal.
In 2018, when merging with Scripps, and later in 2022 with WarnerMedia, Zaslav maintained his core strategic team while bringing in new creative talent leaders from the acquired companies.
Executives express confidence in the regulatory approval of the deal. Notably, Warner Bros. Discovery lacks ownership of a broadcast network, making the path smoother compared to a potential combination with a company like NBC owner Comcast.
Additionally, a tax provision that facilitated the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery is set to expire next year, allowing WBD to legally explore another deal.