WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar is in negotiations for his exit from the company. The executive has hired a legal team after being “kept in the dark about the deal until recent days,” according to The New York Times. Kilar has led WarnerMedia as a whole, including Warner Bros., Turner, and HBO. since joining before HO Max's launch in May of last year. He previously worked Hulu from 2007 to 2013. Discovery CEO David Zaslav is set to lead the spun-off company, set to be revealed in the near future.
Under the terms of the all-stock agreement, AT&T will receive $43 billion in a combination of cash, debt securities, and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt, and AT&T’s shareholders will receive stock representing 71% of the new company. Discovery shareholders will own 29% of the new company, which Zaslav said would announce its new name in the coming days. The boards of directors at both companies have approved the merger.
Kilar earned $52.1 million during his year with the company and garnered $49 million in stock swards, on top of his base pay of $1.67 million. However, that $49 million will vest over the next four years. Kilar’s yearly compensation package was to be around $17 million going forward. Industry experts believe his exit package will be well beyond that sum.
The deal, which is expected to seal next year subject to regulatory approval and a vote by Discovery shareholders, will create an entertainment juggernaut that seeks to rival Netflix and Disney, e merging similar networks into the same group. WarnerMedia’s U.S. sports rights, including for the NBA, MLB, and March Madness, will also be combined with Discovery international sports giant Eurosport, projected for a $52 billion revenue count in 2023, with more than $15 billion of that in direct-to-consumer revenue. The merger should bring about “at least” $3 billion annually in cost savings via synergies, the companies said, hinting at potential layoffs.