Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts addressed speculation that the media conglomerate could potentially merge with Warner Bros. Discovery.
“While there may be speculation what we could do next, I’d like you to hear it directly from me,” Roberts told analysts during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call on Thursday. “I love the company we have. So the bar continues to be even higher for us to do anything other than the plan you heard today.”
In December, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav met with Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish to discuss a potential merger between the two legendary Hollywood media giants. While those discussions have not advanced since then, the talks raised questions on Wall Street that the meeting may have been aimed at catching the attention of Comcast.
In a Jan. 9 research note, analysts with MoffettNathanson addressed the pros and cons of tie-ups between Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount, Comcast and Paramount, and Comcast and Warner, noting that the latter is the “most natural partnership of the three scenarios.”
“However, ultimately only Brian Roberts needs to make the decision if this is a path worth exploring, especially over the coming months ahead of likely even more disruption in the ecosystem,” the analysts said.
The firm predicts that a potential Comcast-WBD tie-up could result in a decrease in linear share and increase in direct-to-consumer share of its total revenue for 2025. Under the potential scenario, MoffettNathanson anticipates that the combined company’s DTC segment would breakeven following a combination of Max and Peacock.
In April, Warner Bros. Discovery will reach the two-year anniversary of its 2022 merger, which was executed under a Reverse Morris Trust for tax advantages. Once the RMT’s two-year lockup period expires, WBD will be free to make acquisitions without incurring a hefty tax bill.
Comcast shares climbed 4.7% following Thursday’s earnings announcement, while Warner Bros. Discovery shares are up 2.8%.
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