David Zaslav continues to cut.
The CEO of Warner Brothers Discovery is planning a major restructuring just months after the formal completion of the merger that produced the media and programming behemoth, people with direct knowledge of the matter say.
At the company’s first earnings call since becoming a combined entity, Zaslav will announce combining his streaming platforms, HBO Max and Discovery+, these people say. These people add that the move would lead to significant cost-cutting, including slashing layers of management, marketing teams and tech redundancies, leading to significant layoffs.
Fox Business first reported Wednesday that the restructuring and headcount reductions were likely in the works and could be announced during the company’s earnings call on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. EDT. Shares of Warner Brothers Discovery, which trades under the symbol WBD, spiked on the Fox Business report.
A spokesman for Warner Brothers Discovery declined to comment.
Zaslav and his management team will not likely announce specific headcount cuts during the call, but these people add that the reductions will likely begin to occur in the next couple of months.
Following the $43 billion Warner Media-Discovery merger, Zaslav, a veteran media executive, found himself running one of the world’s largest media and programming conglomerates, which combines name brands such as HBO, cable news network CNN, and Warner Bros Entertainment.
But the deal left the firm with significant amounts of debt — about $14 billion. Its stock has been floundering of late amid an economic slowdown and stiff competition among various streaming platforms from rivals such as Disney and Comcast.
Zaslav has promised investors and analysts he would seek $3 billion in savings from combining the units' various operations. His first major cost-saving move was to eliminate CNN+, the ill-fated streaming service of the cable news network that was shuttered just weeks after its launch earlier this year. Fox Business first reported the pending cuts to CNN+.
It’s unclear if Zaslav would make any formal management changes along with the restructuring of the streaming platforms, according to people familiar with the matter. HBO content chief Casey Bloys is expected to play a key role in the new combined streaming outfit. He recently received a new five-year deal. "Casey is locked in," said one person with knowledge of Zaslav’s management restructuring.
It’s unclear if Zaslav will unveil the new streaming platform’s name during the announcement.