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David Zaslav Wants An M&A Friendly Presidential Candidate

David Zaslav Wants An M&A Friendly Presidential Candidate

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav is declining to publicly take sides ahead of the upcoming presidential election. 

Rather than the political parties or individual candidates, what matters most to Zaslav, as he told reporters at Allen & Co.’s annual Sun Valley Conference is having a president who is business friendly. 

“We just need an opportunity for deregulation, so companies can consolidate and do what we need to to be even better,” he told Bloomberg

This comes as members of the Hollywood and the entertainment industry, including George Clooney, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings, media mogul Barry Diller, Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel and millionaire Disney heiress Abigail Disney have called for President Biden to step aside and allow another candidate to step in as the democratic nominee.

However, deregulation and consolidation is on the mind for Zaslav, as Warner Bros. Discovery has increasingly become a subject of possible M&A activity, particularly after its two-year Reverse Morris Trust lockup period ended in April, which would have prevented the company from engaging in larger deals. 

The company has been repeatedly mentioned as a possible takeover target for Comcast/NBCUniversal or a possible suitor for partnerships with Paramount Global, among other scenarios.

Warner Bros. Discovery is itself the result of a mega merger between Discovery and AT&T’s WarnerMedia.

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On the subject of Paramount, Zaslav told reporters at the conference, which is typically a gathering of billionaires and business leaders, that he approves of the takeover bid from the consortium led by Skydance.

“Getting [Paramount] in solid hands and having them funded — it’s a great company and a great heritage, so I think that’s good for the industry,” Zaslav said.

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