Warner Bros Discovery, Paramount Global Met to Discuss Potential Deal

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo/File Photo
Toy figures of people are seen in front of the displayed Paramount + logo, in this illustration taken January 20, 2022.

Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav met with Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish to discuss a potential deal between the two companies, a source told Reuters on Wednesday.

The talks were first reported by Axios on Wednesday, citing multiple sources.

Zaslav has also spoken to Shari Redstone, who owns Paramount’s parent company, about a deal, Axios reported, adding the meeting between Zaslav and Bakish lasted several hours.

It is unclear whether Warner Bros would buy Paramount Global or its parent company, National Amusements Inc (NAI), the source told Reuters. Axios said both options were on the table.

Warner Bros and Paramount did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Paramount is controlled by the Shari Redstone-led media company that owns 77% of Paramount’s Class A voting shares.

Talks between Warner Bros and Paramount are still early, and may not ultimately result in a deal, according to the Axios report.

In April last year, AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit and Discovery merged to become Warner Bros Discovery, with a portfolio that included Discovery Channel, Warner Bros. Entertainment, CNN, HBO, Cartoon Network; streaming services Discovery+ and HBO Max; and franchises such as “Batman” and “Harry Potter.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Bloomberg News reported Paramount was in talks to sell its Black Entertainment Television network to a management-led investor group.

There have been other reports of takeover interest in Paramount, which has a market cap of $10.5 billion and long-term debt of about $15.6 billion.

Warner Bros shares closed about 6% lower on Wednesday, while Paramount shares fell about 2%.