Discovery’s merger with WarnerMedia is nearing the finish line and more details are emerging around what the combined company’s streaming strategy will look like.
Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels spoke today at the Deutsche Bank Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference and reiterated his company’s thoughts on how Discovery+ and HBO Max will operate under one corporate umbrella. He said the services will eventually combine into one platform but at first, they will be offered as a bundle.
“We will start working on an interim solution in the meantime. So right out of the gate, we’re working on getting the bundling approach ready, maybe a single sign-on,” he said, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Wiedenfels’ comments echo statements made last year by JB Perrette, president and CEO of Discovery Streaming and International, who said the combined companies will have an “incredibly attractive tech buffet” to choose from and will take the best parts from both sides and build them into a common platform going forward.
Wiedenfels today said it could take a while to harmonize those technology platforms.
First things first, though, Discovery and WarnerMedia need to close their $43 billion merger deal. The companies last month ran out the clock on a potential challenge from the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, and last week earned the Discovery stockholders’ approval.
Wiedenfels today confirmed his company is still on track to the close the merger in the first half of 2022. Under the terms of the all-stock transaction, AT&T will receive $43 billion and AT&T’s shareholders will receive stock representing approximately 71% of the new company, Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. Existing Discovery shareholders will own approximately 29% of the new company.
As previously announced, Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav will run the combined company, which will own Discovery+, HBO Max, Warner Bros. and several of the most popular cable networks.