The media landscape is about to undertake another significant shift as AT&T announces the spin-off and merging of WarnerMedia with Discovery Inc. The deal will include reorganizing WB Games, which was reportedly being shopped for separate sale until late last year, under the new company. Read on for more detail:
The focus of the corporate merger is predominantly the development of entertainment programming and a new streaming powerhouse, combining WarnerMedia assets like Warner Bros, HBO, Cartoon Network and more, with Discovery's global infrastructure and stable of brands, including The Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV, and international regional programming.
According to Variety the deal was achieved as a result of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, when golfing enthusiast and AT&T Chief John Stankey discussed concerns to prioritize a push into the streaming market with Discovery CEO David Zaslav during AT&T Pebble Beach pro-am delays. Zaslav said at a press conference, "We’re not just better together, we’re the best together".
The $43 billion dollar consolidation will facilitate further investment in original programming content and embellishment of existing assets, freeing WarnerMedia of some of the burden of AT&T's multi-billion dollar debt, and divided priority of the telecommunication giant's development of 5G infrastructure. The deal has been achieved through a tax efficient method called Reverse Morris Trust and is expected to pass regulatory approval in 2022.
Jason Kilar will remain CEO of WarnerMedia, with Zaslav to lead the new company, but John Stankey notes, "David's got a lot of decisions to make on personnel." The incoming head talks a good game, so far, philosophizing on the company's content production outlook: "Our core operating philosophy will be more investment on the screen, more resources for storytellers".
The recent Mortal Kombat movie was part of a Warner Brothers led rebound at the box office after pandemic shutdowns. The film also set HBO Max viewership records.
WarnerMedia's focus on streaming was already apparent during a corporate shuffle in 2020 and downsizing at WB owned businesses like DC Comics. The impact, if any, on WB Games remains to be seen, with no forecast for the company's other multimedia interests.
Update: IGN's Julia Alexander reports via Twitter that not all of WB Games and Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment will be included in the sale. Stephen Totilo of Axios relayed a rep's remarks on the division of WB Games, "Some of the gaming arm will stay with AT&T and some will go with the new company".
NetherRealm Studios recently posted positions for Senior Advanced Software Engineer and mobile development positions, adding to March's search for software engineers, senior artists, and quality assurance testing. A new project is expected in the near future, with the studio back at work in January.
Mortal Kombat Online will continue to follow these stories as they develop, You can share your thoughts in the comments below and enter a realm of further speculation in the Future MK Games and DC Universe Injustice forums.