Discovery Shareholders Vote To Approve Merger With WarnerMedia

One of the biggest and most fascinating big media deals to come around in some time is getting near the finish line as Discovery has cleared a major hurdle on the road to its merger with WarnerMedia. The company's stockholders have officially voted to approve the merger, per a press release, which means they are mere weeks away from finalizing the deal that was first announced in May of 2021. A new titan of the entertainment world is about to emerge, combining the powers of "90 Day Fiance" and "Batman" under the same roof.

According to Discovery, stockholders have approved the $43 billion deal that will see AT&T spin-off WarnerMedia from its gigantic corporate structure, getting them out of the media business entirely. Interestingly, AT&T spent billions to acquire Warners just a few years ago to create a huge corporation that was part telecom, part entertainment company, resulting in the creation of HBO Max. Yet, after just a couple of years, they said "no thank you" and opted to sell WarnerMedia to Discovery, which currently is a player in the streaming game with Discovery+. It's not hard to see how these companies combined can more easily compete with the likes of Netflix and Disney.

The deal has already received regulatory approval from both the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission. As such, there are very few hurdles left to clear, with Discovery saying they now expect everything to be finalized early in the second quarter of this year. What will emerge is a new company called Warner Bros. Discovery which is, admittedly a bit unexciting.

The media landscape shifts again

The streaming wars, coupled with big changes at the box office as a result of the pandemic, have changed the media landscape greatly. It's all about companies getting bigger and bigger with the goal of wrangling in tens (if not hundreds) of millions of subscribers. The combined powers of Discovery+ and HBO Max make for a diverse and appealing set of offerings that can cast a wider net. Whether or not the services will be combined, or if they will be bundled like Disney does with Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ remains to be seen.

To realistically compete, it's a game of bigger equals better. That is why Discovery is raising a whopping $30 billion in debt to fund this merger, believing that will be money well spent in the long run. This isn't quite on the same level as Disney buying most of Fox for more than $71 billion a few years ago, but it's not far off. It further consolidates an already heavily consolidated industry and will probably make it harder for smaller players to compete.

So, what will be under the same roof in a matter of weeks? Warner Bros. controls "Harry Potter," all of the DC universe, everything under HBO's roof including huge hits like "Game of Thrones," "The Matrix," comedy franchises like "The Hangover," and "The Conjuring" universe among many, many other properties. Meanwhile, Discovery owns a ton of popular networks including HGTV, Animal Planet, TLC, and the Travel Channel. That makes for a lot of programming. So, Superman cooking show, anyone?