Discovery will merge with WarnerMedia, but not right away. That delay makes things difficult

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AT&T is spinning off WarnerMedia to Discovery, but the deal won’t close any time soon because it is subject to federal review. Photo by rafapress / Shutterstock

News broke in May that AT&T would spin off WarnerMedia to Discovery and that David Zaslav would run the combined media empire, but that deal isn’t closing any time soon. The merger is subject to federal review, which could take a year or more. That leaves WarnerMedia awkwardly situated and without clear leadership in the midst of the streaming wars. 

When the merger was first announced, it seemed like Jason Kilar, the current head of WarnerMedia, was on his way out the door. But now, details of his contract reveal a $20 million reason he may stick around for another year.  

WarnerMedia has faced a revolving door of executives in recent years, including the ouster of Kevin Tsujihara following a sex scandal. Then when Jason Kilar arrived, he purged much of the film studio’s old regime and made enemies with big time talent and agents when he put all of Warners’ 2021 movies on HBO Max the same day films opened in theaters.  

David Zaslav, who will eventually oversee the new company — Warner Bros. Discovery — is known as a tough boss. But Kim Masters says everyone she’s talked to at WarnerMedia is eager for change at the top because the company’s run under AT&T has been so awful. 



Kaitlin Parker