WarnerMedia & Discovery merger clears major US regulatory hurdle

David Zaslav

The $43bn merger between AT&T-owned WarnerMedia and Discovery has cleared US antitrust legislation, paving the way for the deal to be completed in the coming months.

The news emerged in a regulatory filing from Discovery, whose shareholders must now greenlight the deal, something that is widely expected because key shareholders John Malone and Newhouse have already lent their support to the merger.

The filing explained that antitrust “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 (FTC) or the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) or any other applicable governmental entity, has also expired or otherwise been terminated.”

The European Commission and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have both already OK’d the merger and it now seems AT&T’s suggestion late last month that the deal could be completed in Q2 of 2022 is on track.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav is set to move to LA to run the giant entity, but little detail has yet been revealed on the exec set-up while the merger progressed through regulatory proceedings.

WarnerMedia and Discovery first revealed the shock-merger in May last year, subsequently confirming that the enlarged outfit would be known as Warner Bros. Discovery.

It will own one of the deepest libraries in the world with nearly 200,000 hours of programming and will also house both recently launched streamers HBO Max and Discovery+.

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