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Discovery shareholders approve WarnerMedia acquisition

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: AT&T logo is seen on a smartphone in front of displayed Discovery and Warner Media logos in this illustration taken May 17, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/

(Reuters) -Discovery Inc shareholders voted Friday to approve the media company’s $43 billion merger with WarnerMedia, moving the deal one step closer to completion.

Shareholders approved various measures, such as charter amendments and a share issuance proposal, related to the transaction. They also supported golden parachute payments to executives, in case the transaction fails to close.

The outcome was all but assured, as two of Discovery’s major investors, John C. Malone and Advance/Newhouse, agreed to vote their shares in favor of the merger. They together represent 43% of Discovery’s voting shares.

In May, AT&T (NYSE:T) announced it would spin-off WarnerMedia, whose assets include HBO, CNN and the Warner Bros studio, and merge it with Discovery. The combination would create one of the world’s largest media companies with a breadth of well-known film franchises and television series, including Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, “Succession” and the reality-series “90 Day Fiance” and “Property Brothers.”

The transaction has cleared regulatory reviews by the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission. Earlier this week, AT&T and Discovery secured funding for the deal through a $30 billion bond offering.

The merger is expected to close as soon as April, with Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav leading the new Warner Brothers Discovery.

Discovery shareholders approve WarnerMedia acquisition

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