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Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount Had Preliminary Talks For Potential Merger

December 21, 2023 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Warner Bros. Discovery WarnerMedia Image Credit: Discovery

Warner Bros. Discovery could be looking for its next transaction, as it reportedly held talks with Paramount about a possible merger. THR reports that Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish had a lunch meeting on Tuesday in which they discussed a possible merger. The report also noted that Zaslav has spoken with Shari Redstone who owns a stake in Paramount Global through National Amusements Inc.

Deadline has confirmed the news with multiple people, and noted that one source told them “It was all rather preliminary,” which THR also reported. Redstone is said to be “on a bit of a listening tour” to see what she might be able to get if she were to sell all or part of her company.

Even if talks were to happen, there would be a minor delay for any such move. Warner Bros. Discovery is prevented from entering into any transaction until April, when the two-year lockup period following the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery would end. If such a merger were to happen, it would see Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount pool assets including their film side where Paramount has franchises like Mission: Impossible, Top Gun and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, while WBD has the DC franchise and Harry Potter in its stable. TV operations in a merger would likely see operations around Warner Bros. Discovery networks — CNN, HBO, TNT, TBS, Discovery and more — merge with Paramount’s of CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and BET.

For wrestling fans, this could of course shake things up as Warner Bros. Discovery is the current home of AEW and the upcoming Big Little Brawlers, while Paramount’s distribution arm produces WOW – Women Of Wrestling. WBD reportedly met with WWE about potentially negotiating for the TV rights for Raw.