WarnerMedia, Discovery Merger Clears U.S. Regulatory Hurdle

Consummation of Discovery’s $43 billion minority stake, majority control of WarnerMedia appears to have cleared federal regulator oversight. Specifically, the U.S. Antitrust Agency’s waiting period to intervene on the transaction expired, according to WarnerMedia parent AT&T and Discovery.

“As of Feb. 9, 2022, Discovery and AT&T have satisfied the closing condition in Section 9.1 of the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of May 17, 2021, relating to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976,” read the regulatory filing.

“The HSR Act statutory waiting period has expired or otherwise been terminated, and any agreement not to consummate the transaction between the parties and the Federal Trade Commission or the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice or any other applicable governmental entity, has also expired or otherwise been terminated.”

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The lone hurdle remaining in the creation of the new Warner Bros. Discovery company is an approval vote by Discovery shareholders, reportedly considered a formality.

The new company, which includes Warner Bros., HBO, Turner, HBO Max, HGTV, Magnolia Network and Discovery+, will be run by Discovery CEO David Zaslav.

The transaction brings under one corporate roof Turner’s major sports TV broadcast rights, together with Discovery’s Eurosport media company, which controls Olympics media distribution across Europe. Current WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar is expected to leave the company later this year.

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