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HomeNewsSpeculation Intensifies About Possible Merger of Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global

Speculation Intensifies About Possible Merger of Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global

Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global are reportedly talking about a potential merger.

According to press reports first published by Axios and confirmed by Variety, the CEOs of the two companies—Warner’s David Zaslav and Paramount’s Bob Bakish–met for lunch in New York on Tuesday to discuss the potential marriage. Zaslav has also reportedly been in talks with Shari Redstone of National Amusements Inc., which holds a controlling stake in Paramount Global.

None of the principals have publicly commented on the negotiations, and specific terms of any merger have not been disclosed, but a potential combination of the two industry giants could give it enormous clout in competing with streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu.

As of this week, Warner Bros. Discovery has a market capitalization of $28.4 billion, nearly three times the figure for Paramount Global, at $10.3 billion. At the end of the third quarter, Paramount’s long-term debt totaled $15.6 billion, much less than Warner Brothers Discovery’s $43.5 billion. WBD’s Zaslav had told investors last month that the company’s cost-cutting measures and debt reduction have allowed it “to allocate more capital toward growth opportunities.”

A potential combination of WBD and Paramount would only continue the “urge to merge” mania that created the two behemoths. Warner Bros. Discovery was birthed when Discovery acquired WarnerMedia from AT&T in April of 2022. And Paramount Global was the product of a merger between CBS and Viacom in December of 2019.

Both companies bring a significant creative portfolio to the table. Paramount Pictures owns a raft of iconic franchises, including The Godfather, Mission: Impossible, Star Trek, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Terminator. WBD assets include the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movie franchises as well as the DC Extended Universe films. Each company also owns a vast array of TV cable entities.

Though talks are still only in the preliminary stages, observers speculate that a merger would accelerate consolidation within the streaming industry, which is supplanting cable in today’s fast-changing landscape. Warner’s Max streaming service has 95 million subscribers and Paramount+ has 63 million, far less than Netflix’s 247 million and Disney+’s 105 million.

Elizabeth Parks, president of Parks Associates was quoted in USA Today this week as saying: “It’s a challenging time for service providers to make the money work. It makes sense that there will be a lot of consolidation in the market. We expect to see this as a strategy in 2024 for companies to grow subscriber and revenue growth.”

Check out more of Edward’s articles. 

Edward Moran
Edward Moran
Edward Moran began his journalistic career many decades ago as a theater and cinema reviewer for Show Business and the New York Theater Review. More recently he contributed film reviews to and Movie Sleuth. His writings have appeared in publications as diverse as the Times Literary Supplement, Publishers Weekly, the Paris Review, and the Massachusetts Review. Moran also edited a memoir by Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Christine Choy. He served as literary advisor to her film Hyam Plutzik: American Poet, which was the keynote film in the American Perspectives series at the 2007 Zebra Poetry Film Festival in Berlin.


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