Could The New Warner Bros. Discovery Acquire NBCUniversal Before Their Big Launch?
One big name in the streaming industry is apparently on the table for the new Warner Bros. Discovery ahead of its big launch next year.
According to a report by Deadline, Discovery CEO David Zaslav aims to be a buyer going into the Allen & Company Sun Valley conferences, a collection of media conferences hosted by the titular investment firm in Sun Valley, Idaho.
“We’re not done yet,” Zaslav told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin.
A potential name on the table? NBCUniversal, according to Zaslav himself, who said he’s looking forward to speaking with NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts throughout the meeting. Wall Street suggests that Comcast and the new Waner/Discovery venture could team up, especially as there was a mutual interest between Comcast and WarnerMedia before the latter went to the dance with Discovery in the end. Zaslav told reporters that his company aims to be a buyer, but like we always say — never say never in the streaming industry.
S&P Global Ratings senior director Naveen Sarma says to watch out for Comcast and ViacomCBS this week.
“If you think of Comcast as a cable company with media that’s an offering that helps support the distribution business, they don’t necessarily need scale to be able to do that,” Sarma said. “If they want to compete globally against Netflix or Disney, yes they need scale.”
A merger with WarnerBros. Discovery could be just the thing they need. However, execs from both Comcast and Warner Bros. Discovery have said their companies don’t need to make any moves. But with so many entertainment company bigwigs in one location will likely spur some kind of agreement.
Also joining the festivities are Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Disney CEO Bob Chapek, Netflix co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, Alphabet CEO Sunday Pichai, and new Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.
Noticeably absent from the confab is ViacomCBS head Bob Bakish, though Sarma said there might be a good reason why.
“ViacomCBS is in a different boat because they don’t have other business to rely on. But unless they want to be global, they can get away with being smaller,” Sarma said. “It takes time before management teams realize they don’t have the scale and they throw their hands up.”