The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

WBD, Paramount hold merger talks, report says

The front of the Paramount Pictures studios in Los Angeles, California. (Stock image by Hannah Wernecke via Unsplash)
The front of the Paramount Pictures studios in Los Angeles, California. (Stock image by Hannah Wernecke via Unsplash)

Executives from Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) and Paramount Global met in New York City this week to begin preliminary discussions about a possible merger of both companies, according to a report published on Wednesday.

Financial news outlet Axios said the meeting involved WBD CEO David Zaslav and Paramount CEO Bob Bakish. The meeting between the two took place on Tuesday at Paramount’s global headquarters near Times Square, Axios said.

Separately, Zaslav also met with Shari Redstone, whose family owns National Amusements, the parent company of Paramount, Axios reported, citing unnamed sources.

Any deal between the two companies — which at least one financial analyst predicted in November — would almost certainly attract regulatory scrutiny, and both companies would likely have to part with some parts of their business in order to consummate the merger.

Both companies offer a portfolio of linear television channels and direct-to-consumer streaming services that compete with similar businesses operated by the Walt Disney Company, Netflix, Amazon and Comcast’s NBC Universal.

Paramount is under more pressure to sell off or merge its assets with another company, as investors seek to capitalize on the company’s investments in streaming.

Some analysts see WBD as a better suitor for Paramount compared to other media firms because WBD does not outright own a broadcast television network (it does share a 25 percent stake in Nexstar’s CW Network with Paramount). That makes it an somewhat-easier fit for Paramount, which owns CBS, compared to Comcast (NBC Universal), Disney (ABC) or Fox Corporation.

Both executives feel there are significant opportunities for synergies between their brands, Axios reported, including streamlined operations between CBS News and CNN and shared sports rights between CBS Sports and Turner Sports.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.

[rank_math_breadcrumb]