WarnerMedia’s merger with Discovery and Amazon’s acquisition of MGM may have only been the first in a series of property-moving purchases and mergers by various entertainment mega-corporations.
According to Cosmic Book News, who has brought much of this information to widespread attention, if “WarnerDiscovery” rises from the ashes of the former deal, the resulting entity could end up sold yet again to the highest bidder.
At the root of it, as reported by CNBC, is the agreement by businessman and landowner John Malone to give up his voting shares in Discovery in order for the merger to go through, which was done in order to provide the combined WarnerDiscovery the “flexibility” to sell itself to other “media behemoths.”
“Malone agreed to turn in those shares for common equity because he wanted to give a combined WarnerDiscovery flexibility to sell itself in the future — most likely to a deep-pocketed technology company like Amazon or Apple or another media behemoth like Disney, according to a person familiar with the matter,” said the CNBC report.
Malone thinks the impending merger will create a new streaming company that is more than a match for Netflix and Amazon.
However, AT&T – despite maintaining a controlling interest in the new company – could want out of the entertainment industry. The biggest factor suggesting that this is the case, and that a sale of the WarnerDiscovery entity is imminent, is that Discovery CEO David Zaslav will be heading up the new operation with full authority, more than Jason Kilar or anyone currently at the helm of Warner.
Far from a Warner or AT&T inside man, Zaslav is a former NBCUniversal executive who could be arranging for a sale to them or one of the other major media conglomerates , says CBN. Even if this sale never comes to pass, it’s clear AT&T isn’t interested in taking an active role in WarnerDiscovery – at least at this point.
If put up for auction, it’s possible Disney could place a successful bid on WarnerDiscovery, a potentiality which has sparked rumors that the company is interested in bringing Warner assets, such as DC, into the fold. Should such a sale occur, it would put Marvel and their old rival under the same roof.
A Marvel buyout of DC, if you will, is a weird twist of fate, but it’s ironically one that has been decades in the making. In the 80s, the House of Ideas actually had the chance to purchase the Warner-owned comic book publisher, but the deal fell through.
Later, During the 90s, the two would finally work together to publish a series of crossover events, beginning with Marvel besting DC the popularity contest that was the Marvel vs. DC and continuing across two more sequel crossovers and several one-shot team-ups.
Oddly enough, they even came close to brokering a deal in 2016, when then Disney CEO Bob Iger reached out to Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes.
“In October 2016, shortly before Time Warner and AT&T announced their deal, Bob Iger, the head of Disney at the time, placed a call to Jeff Bewkes, the chief of Time Warner, according to two people intimately familiar with those details,” The NY Times explained. “The Disney leader asked Bewkes if he’d be interested in a possible merger. It was too late, Bewkes said. There was already something in the works. Iger wished him well and hung up the phone.
“Later, Iger called another media chief in the hopes of forging a deal,” the New York Times continued. “It was Rupert Murdoch.”
Cosmic Book News postulates Marvel wants DC comics, but notes that no acquisition is guaranteed, instead suggesting that it’s only a possibility.
If negotiations ever open up, it would be good news for Kevin Feige, who’d get his chance to adapt DC characters for the cinema or bring them into the MCU.
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