With AT&T’s media business WarnerMedia and Discovery Merger planned to complete next year (mid 2022) as an investor you may have some questions in mind, below I have answered couple of the common ones.
What will be the name of the New Company after the AT&T WarnerMedia Discovery Merger ?
Discovery announced Warner Bros. Discovery will be the new company name after the merger, ticker symbol not known yet
Logo’s tagline says “The Stuff that dreams are made of” but looking at the logo it seems it was put together in a rush and we should expect a more polished version or redesign in the future or after the expected merger is completed in 2022.
The combination will be executed through a Reverse Morris Trust, under which WarnerMedia will be spun or split off to AT&T’s shareholders via dividend or through an exchange offer or a combination of both and simultaneously combined with Discovery. The transaction is expected to be tax-free to AT&T and AT&T’s shareholders.
In connection with the spin-off or split-off of WarnerMedia, AT&T will receive $43 billion (subject to adjustment) in a combination of cash, debt securities and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt.
When will AT&T WarnerMedia Discovery Merger complete ?
Based on Press release on May 17, 2021, combination of the companies is expected to complete by mid next year 2022.
Why is the merger happening and the sad story behind it ?
AT&T acquired Time Warner in 2017 in hopes of becoming a communications & media giant with a pricey acquisition and indebting an already highly indebted company (as of 7th Aug 21 AT&T is sitting on a debt of $203.87 billion which is more than market cap of $199.63 billion). Today the situation is that in the hopes of becoming a conglomerate AT&T has lost dominance of its core “Communications” business to rival Verizon and competitor’s like T-mobile are eating up the bottom line.
Everyone know’s about the pricy acquisition mishaps by AT&T management under the last CEO “Randall Stephenson” with the likes of Time Warner acquisition for $85 billion and directTV for $67 billion which they sold for a loss this year.
Whereas Discovery CEO “David Zaslav” has been good on execution operationally with its legacy TV business but was too late coming with a streaming service “Discovery +”, and as a result stakeholder haven’t experienced any return in Discovery stock in the last five years, as of 7th Aug 21 its stock is trading at $29.04 and five years ago it was around $27 and with no dividend it’s a like putting salt and chillies on investors wounds.
Why the merger ?
Under AT&T “WarnerMedia” has being neglected and moreover AT&T is struggling with all the debt so the hopes with the de-merger are it should allow the media business to lead its own way forward and also allow AT&T to get rid of some of the debt to allow them to focus on their core business.
And on the other hand Discovery will benefit from the bigger size of the new company and help it compete better in the market.
So, if executed well Warner Bros. Discovery has a really good chance of competing with Disney and Netflix and even winning.
What does the future hold for the new company ?
The question is will WarnerMedia Discovery find its footing now and become the media leader and compete with the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney with its streaming/direct to consumer offerings like HBO Max and Discovery+ after the merger, its a tough question but what’s even more tough is the execution after the merger and begin late in the subscriptions game can really hurt them.
Plus free video platforms like Youtube are thriving which means there is less incentive for users to get a paid service until it is really good. Will Warner Bros. Discovery Services be good ? thats a question for the future additionally how effectively will they merge together and consolidate their business and apps without conflict and over stepping each other.
But its better to be optimistic if executed well the new company has some great brands and content and is somewhat identical to Disney and has a really good shot at succeeding but its all about the management and if they can understand the 21st century consumer wants and deliver that.
Will AT&T cuts its dividend after the merger ?
AT&T will cut its dividend nearly in half and end its 36-year streak
Will the New company pay a dividend ?
Yes the new company is expected to pay a dividend we will post an update once more details are known.
How many shares of the new company will AT&T shareholders own ?
AT&T shareholders will own 71% of shares of the new company where Discovery shareholders will own 29% of the new company.
About AT&T Warner Media
WarnerMedia is a Media brand owned by struggling communications giant AT&T (as of today 7th Aug 21 the stock price is $27.96 near its 5 year low).
WarnerMedia has a portfolio of iconic entertainment, news, and sports brands like Warner Bros, Cartoon Network, Pogo, HBO, CNN and more but has struggled to find a rightful owner in last two decades being acquired by a company in some shape or form and then sold again.
Investor Relations: investors.att.com
Discovery is a well known TV channel brand across the world and delivers over 8,000 hours of original programming each year and available in over 220 countries and territories and nearly 50 languages. Discovery’s portfolio of brands includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel and others.
Investor Relations: corporate.discovery.com