September 29, 2022
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav emphatically denied media rumors that his upstart media company is going to be put up for sale in the near future.
Speaking Sept. 28 on a virtual global town hall meeting to about 40,000 employees, Zaslav, who assumed leadership of the former TimeWarner following Discovery’s $43 billion operating control acquisition from AT&T, was reportedly asked by an employee about media reports suggesting WBD could be put on the sales block as early as 2024.
WBD, which includes Warner Bros., Turner, HBO, HBO Max and Discovery properties, has been going through internal restructuring as it attempts to cut operating costs, realize $3 billion in promised cost synergies and slash billions of dollars in debt accrued through the acquisition.
“We are not for sale,” Zaslav responded.
The town hall was the first company-wide meeting since April’s completion of the merger that retains AT&T as majority owner.
Zaslav, who led the meeting from the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank, Calif., reiterated recent comments made by CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels at investor events, namely that the company welcomed theatrical distribution for 15 to 20 new-release movies, and that WBD’s expansive linear television distribution via TNT, CNN, TBS, TruTV, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, HGTV, Magnolia Network, Boomerang and TCM reached more than 30 million people.
The executive said that household penetration contributed to the successful theatrical releases for Elvis and Don’t Worry Darling, in addition to the HBO/HBO Max release of original “Game of Thrones” prequel series “House of the Dragon.”
“We have everything we need to be successful,” Zaslav said.