Disney, WarnerMedia merger was reportedly considered five years ago

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

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Over the past couple of weeks, there have been more than a few stories of huge companies merging with other huge companies to become even bigger companies, such as Amazon acquiring MGM or Discovery and WarnerMedia joining forces, and the amount of money, people, and content involved can be enough to make your head spin. For every successful merger, there are others which fall through, and a report from The New York Times details one such merger that would have been ripe with potential.

Back in 2016, mere weeks after AT&T first approached Time Warner about making a deal, Disney CEO Bob Iger called up Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes about a possible merger between the two companies. Obviously it didn't come together, but this would have brought Warner Bros., HBO, DC Entertainment, and more under Disney's roof, and the possibilities are enough to make fans salivate. For one brief glorious moment, a Marvel/DC crossover could have happened. Here are the details straight from The New York Times:

In October 2016, shortly before Time Warner and AT&T announced their deal, Bob Iger, the head of Disney at the time, placed a call to Jeff Bewkes, the chief of Time Warner, according to two people intimately familiar with those details. The Disney leader asked Bewkes if he’d be interested in a possible merger. It was too late, Bewkes said. There was already something in the works. Iger wished him well and hung up the phone.

With Time Warner off the table, the New York Times says that "Iger called another media chief in the hopes of forging a deal. It was Rupert Murdoch." As we know, that led to the massive deal that saw Disney acquire 20th Century Fox. As slim as it might be, there's actually a chance that Disney might have another shot at landing WarnerMedia. According to CNBC, the recent Warner/Discovery merger (which is expected to close next year) is already setting up a future sale. John Malone, who had the most Discovery shares of any single owner, agreed to turn in those shares for common equity in order to give the potential new company "flexibility to sell itself in the future," with one insider saying it would likely go to "a deep-pocketed technology company like Amazon or Apple or another media behemoth like Disney." As for what the future will bring, that's way above my pay grade, but it's bizarre to think about a company like Disney someday just owning…everything.

Source: The New York Times

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.