NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. Discovery CEOs Shutdown Merger Speculation

By Jessica Lerner 

The top executives have spoken.

Despite speculation of a possible NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. Discovery merger, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell and Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav have rebuffed such reports.

Shell stated in a recent CNBC interview he found it “completely baffling” that it was suggested NBCUniversal would acquire the company in order to compete in the market.


“The scale question I find completely baffling,” Shell said. “There has not been one single time when there was an investment that we wanted to make that we couldn’t make because we didn’t have enough capital. We have all the scale to do what we need to do. We’re making twice as many movies as our competitor. And we’re buying all that content and moving it to Peacock.”

However, Shell noted NBCUniversal is “a company that has always made acquisitions,” pointing to the company buying DreamWorks Animation.

“For the people that say we need to do something, we don’t need to do anything,” he said.

During a Warner Bros. Discovery company-wide town hall in September, Zaslav, addressing merger rumors, said, “We are not for sale, absolutely, not for sale,” according to multiple news outlets.

He later extolled the organization’s many assets and said the company has “everything they need to be successful.”

These statements from Shell and Zaslav come amid reports of a possible merger between the two companies.

“Obviously Peacock sucks,” said an executive with knowledge of both companies, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “There are some good synergies. I’m sure [Roberts] is licking his chops because the [Warner Bros. Discovery] stock is so low. And I think that’s [Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David] Zaslav’s endgame. Get the place sold.”

In response to the story, a Warner Bros. Discovery spokesperson told the outlet, “We are building Warner Bros. Discovery for the long term.”