'Thanks, I Hate It’: H'wood Creatives Blanch at Potential WBD-Para Merge
A possible deal would give Zaslav what he doesn't have - a broadcast network and a toehold in the NFL
In the summer of 2017, David Zaslav and Bob Bakish went toe to toe over who would own Scripps Networks, the home of Flip or Flop. Discovery, which became Warner Bros. Discovery, ended up the winner of the auction, paying $14 billion for the group — the home of HGTV and Food Network — causing a huge rift between Bakish and bankers Allen & Co. over the bidding process.
The bad blood is now a distant memory; WBD head Zaslav and Paramount chief Bakish are back at the table again. According to Axios, the two men had lunch on Tuesday in New York and discussed how their companies might merge. Paramount’s market cap is now $10.3 billion, much smaller even than the cable programming company it tried to buy six years ago.
Deal chatter had suggested that neither Warner nor Comcast were interested in Paramount and were going to let the proverbial ice cube melt under controlling shareholder Shari Redstone until she had almost no choice but to fold her cards.