Discovery-WarnerMedia merger clears last major regulatory hurdle

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Thanks to a deadline passing, it seems that Warner Bros. Discovery will be here sooner than you may think.

In a regulatory filing on Wednesday, it was confirmed that Discovery and WarnerMedia have cleared the U.S. antitrust review period. The European Union approved the deal in December of last year, and the road is now cleared for the two companies to move forward.

“Discovery Inc. and AT&T Inc. have satisfied the closing condition … of the agreement and plan of merger, dated as of May 17, 2021, by and among Discovery, AT&T, … relating to the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976,” Discovery said in the regulatory filing. “The HSR Act statutory waiting period has expired or otherwise been terminated, and any agreement not to consummate the transaction between the parties and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) or any other applicable governmental entity, has also expired or otherwise been terminated.”

Only one hurdle remains, and that is for the shareholders to vote in favor of the deal. There has been no indication that the deal won’t be approved when the vote happens.

Currently, the plans are for the merger to close between April and June of this year. Discovery CEO David Zaslav will serve as the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, and will be moving to California to run the new mega-corporation. He will be overseeing CNN, TBS, TNT, HGTV, Food Network, Discovery Channel, Warner Bros. films, HBO Max, Discovery Plus, and more.

One of the biggest questions for Wall Street investors is what the streaming strategy will be for the new company. With two major streaming services under their belt – as well as some smaller niche ones such as Boomerang – there are bound to be questions of consolidation. Which service absorbs them all, or if an entirely new one is constructed remains to be seen.