Deeply Crippled Warner Bros Needs to Fire CEO David Zaslav

Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. (NASDAQ: WBD) turned in horrible quarterly results. This puts the career of David Zaslav, the chief executive officer, on the line. Since he merged two companies to create the current one, results have been routinely terrible and the stock has been badly battered. The two companies were AT&T’s Warner and Discovery, which Zaslav ran.

The Warner Bros. Discovery streaming services lost subscribers. Disney released earnings the next day and its streaming subscriber count grew. Market leaders Netflix and Amazon continue to do well.

Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming brands are Max and Discovery+. They lost 700,000 subscribers from the previous quarter, which dropped the figure to 95.1 million. The company’s other large divisions are CNN, TNT and HBO, its cable operations, and Warner Bros. Studios. (The 40 biggest box office bombs of the past decade.)

Warner Bros. Discovery is debt-laden. According to The Wall Street Journal, “It repaid $2.4 billion of debt in the latest quarter, bringing its gross debt to $45.3 billion.” The company still has a long way to go to repair its balance sheet.

For the quarter, revenue rose 2% to just shy of $10 billion. The company lost $417 million, compared to a loss of $2.3 billion in the same quarter a year ago.

After earnings were announced, the stock dropped almost 20% and hit $9.40, not far above its 52-week low. David Zaslav has had a chance to make the merger work, and it has been a catastrophe.

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