AT&T, Discovery To Merge Media Assets In Mega-Deal Amid Global Internet Streaming War

AT&T (T) and Discovery Communications (DISCA) on Monday introduced that they’ll merge their media belongings in a megadeal that raises the content material bar versus Walt Disney (DIS), Netflix (NLFLX) and others amid world web video streaming wars. Discovery inventory jumped on information of the deal whereas AT&T inventory additionally gained.


AT&T will spin off its WarnerMedia enterprise, which incorporates the HBO Max streaming platform and mix it with Discovery’s home and worldwide belongings. Cable business pioneer John Malone is Discovery’s largest shareholder.

“Discovery would give WarnerMedia much-needed distribution capabilities outside of the U.S. as HBO prepares to launch HBO Max internationally,” stated Wells Fargo analyst Eric Luebchow in a report. “Clearly, both Warner Media and DISCA require greater scale in order to compete with the likes of Netflix and Disney — and this potential transaction certainly would be a compelling step in the right direction.”

AT&T Stock: Discovery Picked Over NBCU Deal

The megadeal is structured as an all-stock, Reverse Morris Trust transaction. AT&T’s shareholders would obtain inventory representing 71% of the mixed firm. Discovery shareholders would personal 29%. The new firm might be led by present Discovery President and Chief Executive David Zaslav.

AT&T favored a cope with Discovery over trying a merger with Comcast‘s (CMCSA) NBCUniversal, which might probably have confronted regulatory opposition, analysts stated.

Discovery inventory surged about 13% to 40.24 earlier than the market open on Monday. AT&T inventory gained 3.3% to 33.30.

AT&T acquired media large Time Warner for $85 billion three years in the past. The mixed Warner/Discovery would have an enterprise worth of roughly $150 billion, together with debt. AT&T lately spun off its DirecTV video enterprise into a brand new firm in a cope with personal fairness agency TPG.

AT&T’s HBO Max had 44.2 million streaming subscribers as of March 31. WarnerMedia’s belongings additionally embody CNN, TBS and the Warner Bros. film studio.

Discovery Stock: International Assets Key

Discovery garners greater than half of income from exterior the U.S.

Some analysts have speculated that Comcast’s NBCUniversal can be a greater match for merging with WarnerMedia.

“We think this merger (with Discovery) discussion evidences AT&T’s concern about the cost to make HBO Max a long-term winner in global streaming,” stated Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger in a report. “While a merger of Warner with NBCU can be extra compelling strategically, we’ve got come to imagine that the present local weather in Washington D.C. makes this proposal unrealistic.

Juenger added that he does not count on Comcast to bid for Discovery.

Discovery controls cable TV networks HGTV, Food Network, TLC and Animal Planet in addition to sports activities channel Eurosport.

Follow Reinhardt Krause on Twitter @reinhardtk_tech   for updates on 5G wi-fi, synthetic intelligence, cybersecurity and cloud computing.

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