WarnerMedia is now officially part of Discovery Inc. and will be known as Warner Bros. Discovery Inc., a company whose shares gained nearly 7.5 percent on its first day of trading.
Since then, the company has lost about 13 percent of its value, when shares closed at $21.45 on April 21.
Warner Bros. Entertainment in Burbank will be part of the new standalone media and entertainment company, which began trading April 11 under the ticker symbol WBD.
WarnerMedia had been part of AT&T Inc. until the transaction closed on April 8 to combine it with Discovery Inc. in New York.
David Zaslav, Warner Bros. Discovery chief executive, said that with its collective assets and diversified business model, the company offers the most differentiated and complete portfolio of content across film, television and streaming.
“We are confident that we can bring more choice to consumers around the globe while fostering creativity and creating value for shareholders,” Zaslav said in a statement. “I can’t wait for both teams to come together to make Warner Bros. Discovery the best place for impactful storytelling.”
The new management team has already made its first major decision – namely, to shut down CNN Plus, a news streaming service, which only launched a few weeks ago. Last month Warner Bros. Discovery announced plans to eventually combine Warner Bros.’ HBO Max and the Discovery Plus streaming systems.
John Stankey, chief executive of AT&T in Dallas, said that in WarnerMedia, Discovery gets a global company that is well positioned to lead the transformation that’s taking place across media and entertainment, direct-to-consumer distribution and technology.
“The combination of the two companies will strengthen WarnerMedia’s established and leading position in media and streaming,” Stankey said in a statement. “And our shareholders will now have a significant stake in Warner Bros. Discovery and its future successes.”
Under terms of the agreement, AT&T received $40.4 billion in cash and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt. Also, shareholders of AT&T received 0.241917 shares of WBD for each share of AT&T common stock they held at close. As a result, AT&T shareholders received 1.7 billion shares of WBD, representing 71% of WBD shares on a fully diluted basis. Discovery’s existing shareholders own the remainder of the new company, according to a release from the company.
On April 7, the day before the transaction closed, executive staffing announcements were made in connection with Warner Bros. Discovery.
Casey Bloys continues as chief content officer of HBO & HBO Max in New York; Channing Dungey continues as chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group in Burbank; and Toby Emmerich continues as chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group also in Burbank, with responsibility for Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, DC-based films and Warner Bros. Feature Animation.
Additionally, Adria Alpert Romm will serve as chief people and culture officer, having held the same role at Discovery Inc.; David Leavy will be chief corporate affairs officer, overseeing key business functions and groups, including corporate relations, global government relations, public policy, corporate marketing and global communications; and JB Perrette, formerly chief executive of Discovery Streaming and International, will assume the role of chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery Global Streaming and Interactive Entertainment, with responsibility for HBO Max and Discovery+, as well as all direct-to-consumer and gaming around the world.