Discovery Completes Acquisition of WarnerMedia from AT&T

Discovery on Friday completed AT&T's historic acquisition of Warner Media, creating a new media giant, Warner Bros. Discovery.

The deal, first announced last May, will see Warner Media merge with Discovery and trade on the NASDAQ under the new symbol WBD. Warner Media's assets include HBO, HBO Max, Warner Brothers, DC Comics, Cartoon Network, and Adult Swim, while Discovery owns Discovery Plus, Discovery Channel, and many other nature and lifestyle networks.

As for animation, Warner Media's library is extensive. In addition to Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, the company owns Warner Bros. Animation, the classic cartoon platform Boomerang, the Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera libraries, and many others.

David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, said in a statement: [Today's announcement is not only important to Warner Bros. Discovery, but also to our shareholders, distributors, advertisers, creative partners, and most importantly, an exciting milestone for consumers around the world. With our total assets and diversified business model, Warner Bros. Discovery offers the most differentiated and complete content portfolio in film, television and streaming. We believe we can bring more choice to consumers around the world while fostering creativity and creating value for our shareholders. I can't wait to see both teams work together to make Warner Bros. Discovery the premier destination for impactful storytelling.

AT&T's decision to sell WarnerMedia came just three years after it first acquired Time Warner. However, following the 2018 acquisition, AT&T (at its core a telecommunications company) struggled to absorb Warner's media business. The company racked up significant debt amid a continually depressed stock price and was forced to sell several entertainment assets, including Crunchyroll.

The new deal should allow AT&T to return to what it theoretically does best. CEO John Stankey explained:

We are at the dawn of a new era of connectivity, and today marks the beginning of a new era for AT&T. With the completion of this transaction, we will invest at record levels in the growth areas of 5G and fiber optics to build strong momentum and become the best broadband company in the United States. At the same time, we will focus on delivering returns to our shareholders. As we invest for growth, strengthen our balance sheet, and reduce debt, we will also continue to pay an attractive dividend and expect to be among the top dividend-paying stocks in the United States.