As a newly-formed business, Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. (WBD) begins trading at $24.08 per share

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Evercore ISI Group upgraded the stock from In-line to Outperform ahead of the company’s Wall Street debut, with a $40 price objective. WBD CEO David Zaslav’s position as the company’s new CEO was cemented by the $43 billion acquisition, which finalized on Friday. When the purchase was completed, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar left.

In a staff note quoted by CNN, Zaslav stated, “I am convinced that our collective energy and true passion for these businesses and brands will construct the world’s most dynamic media and entertainment firm.” Zaslav continued by stating that WBD is “ideally positioned to become a top-tier streaming rival,” as it competes with existing companies like Netflix (NFLX) and Disney+ (DIS), as well as Apple TV+ (AAPL) and Amazon Prime Video (AMZN). AT&T (T) opened Monday’s trading day in the green (up roughly 4%). AT&T’s shareholders own 71% of the new firm. The remaining 29% is owned by WBD shareholders.

High-profile creatives such as “The Batman” director Matt Reeves, “The Sex Lives of College Girls” writer Mindy Kaling, “Insecure’s” Issa Rae and many others have hefty development deals with WarnerMedia. “[HBO Max] is just getting started,” Reif said, saying that the streaming service has been “on fire” despite greater competition in the area. HBO and HBO Max have a combined subscription base of 73.8 million as of the end of 2021. Discovery, on the other hand, just announced 22 million subscribers.

As investor’s attention shifts away from subscriber growth, Reif predicts that company operations and profitability will become increasingly important to shareholders. “Can you generate money? Can you offset the reductions in the traditional business?” the analyst said, reaffirming her conviction that WBD has the “greatest combination of assets” to help counter secular business reductions while simultaneously expanding “into the next growth curves of streaming.”

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