Warner Bros. and Discovery have officially completed their merger. The stock of the newly combined Warner Bros. Discovery (NASDAQ:WBD) begins trading today under the ticker symbol WBD.
The $43 billion merger of Warner Bros. with Discovery was made possible after AT&T (NYSE:T) agreed to spin off the Warner Bros. movie studio, paving the way for it to merge with Discovery and create a new entertainment giant called Warner Bros. Discovery.
The Discovery ticker symbol now goes away and is replaced with WBD, which starts trading in New York today. Expectations are running high for the new company as it makes its market debut, with analysts at Atlantic Equities and Evercore ISI placing “buy” ratings on Warner Bros. Discovery stock, saying the new company should become a powerhouse in streaming.
8 Things to Know About WBD Stock
Here are eight things investors should know as WBD stock begins trading today.
- The Warner Bros. movie studio is nearly 100 years old and home to several iconic film franchises, including Harry Potter, Batman and Looney Tunes characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.
- Discovery is largely known for its catalogue of reality-based TV shows such as Gold Rush, Deadliest Catch and annual Shark Week programming.
- The newly created Warner Bros Discovery’s portfolio includes Discovery Channel, Warner Bros. Entertainment, CNN, HBO, Cartoon Network. It also holds established streaming services such as Discovery+ and HBO Max.
- While the merged company is expected to immediately become a major player in TV and movie streaming, the deal comes with a combined debt load of $55 billion. That debt will need to be paid down even as Warner Bros. Discovery pays to develop new content.
- Nine high-level Warner Media executives, including CEO Jason Kilar and network head Ann Sarnoff, quit last week.
- AT&T said spinning off Warner Bros. will allow it to concentrate more on its core wireless internet business, something analysts have been calling for repeatedly in recent years.
- WBD stock began trading today at $24.08 a share. Evercore ISI has placed a price target on the stock of $40.
- In terms of subscriber numbers, at the end of 2021, HBO and HBO Max had a combined subscriber count of 73.8 million, while Discovery last reported that it had 22 million subscribers worldwide.
On the date of publication, Joel Baglole did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.