Count John Malone among those anticipating a potential future tie-up between a combined WarnerMedia-Discovery and Comcast‘s NBCUniversal.
The billionaire media mogul and controlling Discovery shareholder told CNBC on Monday he’s already held discussions with Comcast Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts about different combinations of corporate relationships regarding NBCUniversal. (Comcast-owned NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.)
“My comment to Brian was that this is the pickle out of the jar,” Malone said in an interview with CNBC’s David Faber. “If the regulatory environment permitted, down the road, all kinds of relationships could be contemplated between this enterprise that we’re creating and Brian’s enterprise. I think there are many opportunities for this Discovery-[WarnerMedia] enterprise to work with NBCUniversal to develop successful businesses.”
Telecom giant AT&T announced May 17 a deal to combine its content unit WarnerMedia with Discovery. Under the agreement, AT&T will unwind its $85 billion acquisition of the then-named Time Warner, which closed just under three years ago, and form a new media company with Discovery. The deal will create a new business, separate from AT&T.
Malone said “there’s no question” Roberts wanted to acquire WarnerMedia, but AT&T felt a transaction with Comcast would have been problematic from a regulatory perspective and complicated with regard to