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Warner Bros. Discovery Calls Off Merger Talks With Paramount Global

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) has called off merger talks with rival Paramount Global (PARA), ending negotiations aimed at merging the two entertainment companies.

According to multiple media reports, formal talks that would have seen Warner Bros. Discovery acquire Paramount Global have ended.

Warner Bros. Discovery Chief Executive Officer David Zaslav had a preliminary conversation with Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish last December.

The companies engaged in more serious merger discussions in January, but talks have since cooled off and have now been canceled altogether.

Paramount Global has set up a special committee and hired its own financial advisor as it let it be known that it is up for sale and willing to entertain offers.

Media mogul Byron Allen had offered $14 billion U.S. for Paramount Global in January of this year, though he has a history of bidding on but not ultimately buying media assets.

Both Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount are said to be trying to reach economies of scale as they struggle to compete and earn profits in streaming.

Each company is also struggling with a decline in advertising revenue at their traditional linear television stations, as well as declining audience attendance at movies.

Warner Bros. owns properties ranging from Batman to Mad Max and the Lego Movie franchise. Paramount owns Star Trek, The Terminator, and Indiana Jones, among other properties.

The stock of Warner Bros. Discovery is down 25% this year and trading at $8.70 U.S. per share, near a 52-week low.

Paramount Global’s stock is down 22% on the year, and, at $11.25 U.S. a share, is also near a 52-week low.