According to multiple sources, Warner Bros Discovery and Paramount had met recently to discuss a possible merger. This could impact wrestling fans, as WBD currently holds AEW’s media rights and is said to be considering an offer to become WWE Raw’s next television home.
Axios first reported that WBD CEO David Zaslav and Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish met yesterday (Dec. 19) in New York to discuss the idea of merging their companies. Sources say the two met for “several hours” at Paramount headquarters, and discussing matters like how their merged streaming services (Max and Paramount+) could better compete with Netflix. They are allegedly exploring both the option of WBD buying Paramount or its parent company National Amusements Inc. Zaslav also apparently spoken with NAI owner Shari Redstone recently.
That report says WBD has hired bankers to explore how the deal would be structured and financed.
Also preliminary is speculation about how a merger would change the market for live sports entertainment like pro wrestling. But that speculation is going to occur, considering that AEW owner Tony Khan’s seeming preference to continue his company’s partnership with WBD when their existing contract expires at the end of next year — and recent reports of WWE executives meeting with WBD officials about Raw’s rights package, which is up next fall. WBD also currently holds part of the NBA’s right package, which is also up next year and figures to again reset the market for live programming.