Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global are potentially heading towards a massive merger, according to sources. The CEOs of Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount Global, and National Amusements reportedly held a meeting on Tuesday in New York City.
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish, and Shari Redstone, whose family company holds a majority stake in Paramount Global, met to discuss a possible merger. During the meeting, the companies reportedly outlined plans to merge their film studios and streaming platforms as a strategic move to rival industry giants such as Netflix and Disney.
None of the parties has made an official statement yet. When asked to comment on the matter, both Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount declined.
If a merger were to occur, it remains uncertain whether Warner Bros. Discovery would acquire Paramount or National Amusements, but a source tells Axios that “both options are on the table.”
From a financial standpoint, both Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount suffer from a hefty debt load. Paramount Global had long-term debts totaling $15.6 billion. Warner Bros. Discovery’s debt load was reported to stand at a whopping $43.5 billion following a merger between Warner Media and Discovery in 2022, resulting in CEO Zaslav slashing costs and attacking debt levels. In terms of market values, however, Warner Bros. Discovery has a market capitalization of $28.4 billion as of the close of trading on December 20. Paramount Global has a market capitalization of $10.3 billion as of the close of trading on December 20.
It’s still too early to predict the path this potential merger might take and how it could shape the entertainment industry, which is already in flux due to changing viewer behaviors and technological advancements. Should this merger occur, it might significantly change the landscape of the global entertainment industry.
The Federal Trade Commission did not provide any comment on the prospective agreement.