WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar reportedly negotiating exit following mega merger announcement

WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar

Jason Kilar, the CEO of WarnerMedia, is reportedly negotiating his way out of the company after being frozen out of merger talks between AT&T and Discovery.

The industry was stunned when, seemingly out of nowhere, AT&T announced that it is spinning off WarnerMedia and its associated entertainment assets into a standalone company with Discovery. This new company, which will be 71% owned by AT&T, will be helmed by Discovery CEO David Zaslav.

In the wake of this announcement, The New York Times reports that Kilar – who joined WarnerMedia in April 2020 – is looking for a way out of the company after he was “kept in the dark about the deal until recent days.”

The former Hulu boss Kilar joined WarnerMedia a month before the company rolled out its major streaming service HBO Max, with a view that his experience of more than five years at a competitor would help it expand. A year after its launch, HBO Max has just under 10 million subscribers.

The exec responded to the announcements with a positive memo to WarnerMedia staff, but the report is clear Kilar sees no future for himself at the new company. The deal is not expected to close until mid-2022, giving Kilar time to negotiate a healthy exit package.

Speaking on a conference call following the merger’s announcement, AT&T CEO John Stankey said that “David [Zaslav] has got a lot of decisions to make on personnel and how things are structured moving forward during this transition period.”

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