John Malone says WarnerMedia-Discovery getting rid of CNN would be the ‘coward’s way out’

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  • WarnerMedia and Discovery’s proposed $43 billion combination has a place for CNN, billionaire media mogul John Malone told Businesshala
  • “A coward’s way must be sold” [CNN] Or shut it down and then sell it,” said the cable TV pioneer and longtime president of Liberty Media.
  • “I believe that good journalism can play a role in this future portfolio that Discovery-TimeWarner is going to represent,” Malone said.

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There is a place for CNN in a proposed $43 billion combination of WarnerMedia and Discovery, billionaire media mogul John Malone told Businesshala in a recorded interview that aired Thursday.

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Cable TV pioneer and longtime chairman of Liberty Media, which is a major shareholder, said, “I want CNN to grow back into the kind of journalism it started with, and really have journalists who are unique. And it will be fresh.” Search. “I believe that good journalism can play a role in this future portfolio that Discovery-TimeWarner is going to represent.”

Back in May, AT&T announced a deal to combine its content arm WarnerMedia with Discovery. Under the agreement, AT&T will open its $85 billion acquisition of TimeWarner, which closed nearly three years ago, and form a new and separate media company with Discovery. It will bring together channels from AT&T-owned CNN, HBO and Warner Bros. Studios and Discovery, including Animal Planet, TLC and its namesake Discovery Channel. At the time of the announcement, the parties stated that they expected to close the transaction in the middle of next year.

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“A coward’s way must be sold” [CNN] Or spin it and then sell it,” Malone said in response to a question from Businesshala’s David Faber about whether the cable news network would fit the video streaming ambitions of the merged company, which would be named Warner Bros.

Malone voiced his support for Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who will lead the new company. Zaslav has said in the past that he Committed to keeping CNN, Discovery was not immediately available to comment specifically on Malone’s comments. Before joining Discovery, Zaslav spent nearly two decades at NBC working on various projects, including the launch of Businesshala and MSNBC.

Shortly after the initial announcement of the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger, Malone told Businesshala at the time that he sees the combined company becoming the No. 3 global streamer behind Netflix and Disney+.

Malone has said then and now that Zaslav is the rightful leader for Warner Bros.

“I mean, he’s the kind of guy who could deliver a Scripps merger or a TimeWarner deal. Without the Scripps deal, Discovery would actually be in third tier today,” Malone said of Discovery’s nearly $12 billion acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive. which was completed in March 2018. The tie-up brought the then-Scripps-owned HGTV, Travel Channel and Food Network under the Discovery umbrella.

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