Discovery and Warner Media join forces to form new entertainment company

Discovery CEO David Zaslav.
Discovery CEO David Zaslav will run the new entity. Photo credit: Getty Images

Global media giants Discovery and Warner Media are joining forces to form a new global entertainment company, to take Disney and Netflix head-on in the streaming wars.

The deal combines the content libraries of well-known news and entertainment brands like CNN, HBO and Warner Brothers with Discovery's extensive portfolio of nature, cooking, reality and lifestyle shows.

Warner Brothers is the studio behind the blockbuster franchises Batman and Harry Potter while HBO's offering includes blockbuster TV series Game of Thrones.

AT&T, which owns Warner Media, said the new company will be in a better position to compete in the online streaming world.

"This agreement unites two entertainment leaders with complementary content strengths and positions the new company to be one of the leading global direct-to-consumer streaming platforms," AT&T CEO John Stankey said.

"It will support the fantastic growth and international launch of HBO Max with Discovery’s global footprint and create efficiencies which can be re-invested in producing more great content to give consumers what they want."

Discovery CEO David Zaslav who will run the new entity, said the new deal is an exciting opportunity that adds value to both companies.

"It is super exciting to combine such historic brands, world-class journalism and iconic franchises under one roof and unlock so much value and opportunity.

"With a library of cherished IP, dynamite management teams and global expertise in every market in the world, we believe everyone wins...consumers with more diverse choices, talent and storytellers with more resources and compelling pathways to larger audiences, and shareholders with a globally scaled growth company committed to a strong balance sheet that is better positioned to compete with the world’s largest streamers.

"We will build a new chapter together with the creative and talented WarnerMedia team and these incredible assets built on a nearly 100-year legacy of the most wonderful storytelling in the world. That will be our singular mission: to focus on telling the most amazing stories and have a ton of fun doing it."

The deal may take a year to get through regulatory approval and will create one of the largest media companies in the United States.

Discovery is the owner of Newshub and Three.