Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels says the mega-merger of Discovery and WarnerMedia — with an eventual combination of the Discovery+ and HBO Max streaming services — is on track for a mid-2022 closing.
“We’re in the ninth inning right now, in closing that transaction,”
Wiedenfels told the Deutsche Bank Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference during a session that was webcast. He argued that combining the subscriber acquisition power of HBO Max with the customer retention power of Discovery+ content will “make for a blowout DTC (direct-to-consumer) product and that should certainly drive very healthy revenue growth for years to come.”
Also, AT&T will spin off WarnerMedia and merge it with Discovery, with AT&T shareholders set to receive an estimated 0.24 share in the new company for each AT&T share held. AT&T stockholders will end up owning 71 percent of the new Warner Bros. Discovery, with Discovery shareholders holding the rest.
“We will start working on an interim solution in the meantime. So right out of the gate, we’re working on getting the bundling approach ready, maybe a single sign-on,”
he went on to say.
Last month, the merger received approval from the U.S. Department of Justice, the key regulatory hurdle for the merger. The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, had approved the deal in December.