Warner Bros Discovery "Absolutely" Not For Sale: WBD CEO David Zaslav

Earlier this month, we jumped on the speculation bandwagon that it was possible that Warner Bros Discovery David Zaslav and his team were preparing the company to eventually be bought by Comcast (owner of NBCUniversal) sometime in 2024. But based on what Zaslav had to share during a WBD-wide "town hall" Zoom meeting, no one's told him that. Though not addressing any company in particular, Zaslav stated that "we are not for sale, absolutely, not for sale." The WBD head added, "We have the strongest hand in the industry. We have everything we need to be successful to be the biggest entertainment media company in the world." Deadline Hollywood reported that the meeting lasted approximately 75 minutes, with division heads HBO & HBO Max chief content officer Casey Bloys, Warner Bros Television Group chair Channing Dungey and Warner Bros Motion Picture Group toppers Mike DeLuca & Pam Abdy being introduced.

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Image: Warner Bros. Discovery/NBCUniversal

In an edition of "Heat Vision" from earlier this month, Kim Masters posed the question a lot of folks hadn't been asking. What if all of this is just another stage in a very different endgame, one that would see Comcast stepping in to combine Warner Bros. Discovery with NBCUniversal (which Comcast owns)? Considering WBD's financial and structural challenges, a "final" flip wouldn't prove too shocking to those behind the scenes, even though a mess load of contractual & merger-based factors preclude any negotiations until April 2024 at the earliest. And while Masters noted that such a move would be met with "some interesting antitrust issues," the benefits it would bring to Comcast would be too much to resist. "There are some good synergies. I'm sure [Roberts] is licking his chops because the [WBD] stock is so low. And I think that's Zaslav's endgame. Get the place sold," one source was quoted in the article as sharing. For their part, a spokesperson for the WBD issued a statement, reading, "We are building Warner Bros. Discovery for the long term."  Though, when it comes to one person's definition of "the long term" compared to another's, let's just say that mileage may vary. "People feel like it's Comcast for sure," said the head of one company, quoted in the article. "It's going to be so depressing to lose another major studio [after Disney bought Fox]. And Warners was the Tiffany studio." But for now, it would appear all of that talk is just hot air. For now…

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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