AEW Partner Warner Bros Discovery In Talks For Shock Merger

Tony Khan AEW

TV rights have been the hot topic in the wrestling world in recent weeks and the picture surrounding AEW’s may have gotten a lot murkier.

AEW has aired on the Warner Brothers Discovery-owned TBS and TNT since the company began producing weekly shows in 2019. There have been unconfirmed suggestions that WBD owns some sort of ownership stake in Tony Khan’s company which would theoretically tie the two entities together come what may if true.

However, WWE has been in talks with WBD over Monday Night Raw as it looks to secure the best deal it can for TKO shareholders for its flagship show. SmackDown already has a new home starting in 2024 and NXT is moving networks as well leaving Raw the final piece in TKO’s puzzle.

But now things have taken another twist far bigger than wrestling as Axios has reported that WBD has been in talks with Paramount regarding a merger of the two media giants. It is believed WBD CEO David Zaslav met Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish on December 19th in New York City at Paramount’s headquarters to discuss a merger of the organisations.

WBD’s market value is around $29 billion while Paramount’s is $10 billion meaning that WBD would likely acquire Paramount or its parent company National Amusements Inc. with both options said to be on the table.

Could Corporate Merger Spell Bad News For AEW?

It is widely known that both Paramount and WBD are facing mountains of debt as the streaming business model continues to lose money hand over fist.

While AEW programming might be a small spec regarding the media giant’s wider aspirations, for wrestling fans of a certain vintage, talks of media mergers will cause panic to set in.

WCW was very clearly on a downward spiral at the turn of the century as WWE all but killed off the competitive edge of the Monday Night Wars. But WCW’s eventual downfall came down to the merger of AOL and TimeWarner which removed long-time boss Ted Turner from power.

It was Turner who championed wrestling on his networks but with him gone, there was no one to support WCW continuing and its timeslot was pulled which led to Vince McMahon buying the assets of the company.

How any merger might affect WBD’s relationship with either AEW or WWE depending on what takes place with TV rights remains to be seen.