Warner Bros Discovery weighs sale of music library to pare debt

Warner Bros Discovery is exploring a sale of its music library that might be valued at greater than $1bn, in keeping with folks conversant in the matter, the newest transfer by chief government David Zaslav to scale back debt on the sprawling Hollywood empire.

Since taking management after combining WarnerMedia along with his Discovery final yr, Zaslav’s workforce has been scouring the leisure group — which spans HBO, the Warner Bros film studio and CNN — to seek out locations to chop into its $50bn in debt.

The Warner Bros film studio created a music division within the Fifties. In 2004 mum or dad firm Time Warner bought the music division, however the group retained its copyrights to a trove of songs, such because the soundtracks to the Batman movies.

Warner is procuring round this catalogue to potential patrons because it tries to capitalise on a scorching marketplace for music copyrights, in keeping with three folks conversant in the matter. The belongings might be price greater than $1bn, one of many folks stated.

The method is in early phases and any deal would maintain stipulations over entry to and use of sure soundtracks, stated one individual near the scenario.

The transfer comes after Zaslav’s workforce has axed outstanding tasks such because the CNN Plus streaming service, JJ Abrams’s HBO collection Demimonde and the film Batgirl in the course of the remaining phases of its manufacturing.

Chief monetary officer Gunnar Wiedenfels earlier this month defended these selections. “We shaved off a number of the surplus final yr, and I feel that’s one thing that everybody else within the business goes to undergo,” he instructed an investor convention. “We’re coming from an irrational time of overspending with very restricted give attention to return on funding.

“We’re simply persistently and constantly taking a look at how we’re working the enterprise . . . What is sensible? What doesn’t make sense?”

After a bruising 2022 when the inventory misplaced greater than half of its worth, shares in Warner Bros Discovery have elevated by greater than a 3rd this yr, as buyers wager that the worst is over when it comes to losses and restructuring prices.

“At this level, nearly all of heavy lifting (associated to restructuring expenses and so forth) has been accomplished,” stated Financial institution of America analyst Jessica Ehrlich.

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