AT&T, the parent company of WarnerMedia, which owns AEW’s broadcast partner TNT, announced today an agreement to combine WarnerMedia’s premium entertainment, sports and news assets with Discovery’s leading nonfiction and international entertainment and sports businesses to create a premier, standalone global entertainment company.
This is bringing some déjà vu vibes of Time Warner being sold to AOL back in 2000, a move which was the beginning of the end for WCW. AOL bought Time Warner for $182 billion in stock and debt at the time and AT&T paid $85 billion three years ago to take over WarnerMedia. The new deal will see AT&T receive $43 billion from Discovery in different ways, a combo of cash and debt securities.
Assuming the deal goes through, it will be finalized next year pending approval from regulators and Discovery’s own shareholders.
While AEW is in a different position than WCW was at the time, mergers often see a lot of cuts and changes which might affect certain working relationships. AEW is locked in a multi-year deal with TNT so for now no changes are anticipated.