DOJ approves WarnerMedia-Discovery merger

The Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., is seen on June 18
Greg Nash

Discovery said in a regulatory filing this week the Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved its impending acquisition of WarnerMedia, according to multiple reports. 

The approval is a major hurdle dealmakers needed to clear ahead of the merger between the two media conglomerates, which is expected to be finalized later this spring. 

“Discovery Inc. and AT&T Inc. have satisfied the closing condition … of the agreement and plan of merger, dated as of May 17, 2021, by and among Discovery, AT&T, … relating to the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976,” Discovery said its the filing, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“The HSR Act statutory waiting period has expired or otherwise been terminated, and any agreement not to consummate the transaction between the parties and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) or any other applicable governmental entity, has also expired or otherwise been terminated.”

The Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 requires companies to report large transactions to both the Federal Trade Commission and the DOJ antitrust division for antitrust review.

The $43 billion deal, which was announced in May, notched unconditional antitrust clearance from the European Commission late last year, Reuters reported

The deal now heads to Disovery’s shareholders for approval, which is expected given public statements of support from major financial backers like John Malone. 

The DOJ approval comes a week after WarnerMedia’s top news brand, CNN, saw its top boss ousted amid revelations of a romantic relationship he had with another top executive at the company that he allegedly did not disclose. Top staffers at CNN are reportedly upset with how WarnerMedia has handled Jeff Zucker’s departure. 

Tags Competition law Discovery, Inc. WarnerMedia

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