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WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS are investigating possible sale of CW Network




AT&T Inc. sine

T 2.22%

WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS Inc.

MORE -1.00%

is investigating a possible sale of a significant stake or the entire CW Network, which they jointly own, according to people familiar with the matter.

Among the suitors is Nexstar Media Group Inc.,

NXST -1.86%

the nation’s largest broadcaster and a major owner of affiliates to the network, the people said close to the talks. The CW network is primarily aimed at teenagers and young adults.

People close to the talks said they are well on their way and an agreement can be reached soon, although the talks may still fall apart. There are other interested parties as well, but the discussions with Nexstar are most advanced, they said.

The most common scenario is that Nexstar takes a controlling stake in CW, with CBS and WarnerMedia still being minority owners and receiving commitments to be the primary program providers for the network, the people said.

CBS and WarnerMedia have been exploring strategic options for the CW Network for several months, said some of the people involved in the talks. The network is not profitable as a stand-alone broadcasting unit, but the content produced for it is a valuable resource for other platforms at the parent companies.

Warner Bros., which produces some of the CW̵[ads1]7;s biggest shows, including “Riverdale,” has generated significant revenue by selling the shows to Netflix. Inc.

over the years. Other popular programs on the CW include “All American” and “The Flash.”

Popular CBS-produced programs for the CW include “Walker,” based on intellectual property from the television show “Walker Texas Ranger.”

With the launch of HBO Max, the WarnerMedia-owned direct-to-consumer streaming service, the CW shows created by Warner Bros. in the future be channeled there.

AT&T is merging its WarnerMedia entertainment products, which also include the TNT, TBS and CNN cable networks, with the programming giant Discovery Inc.

to create your own company. The agreement is expected to end in the spring.

For Nexstar, a controlling stake in CW will represent a significant step in the content ambitions. It has already invested heavily in a national cable news service called NewsNation.

ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia have been long-standing partners in the CW Network since the merger of the UPN and WB networks in 2006.

Write to Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com

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Appeared in print January 6, 2022 as ‘Warner, CBS Look To Sell CW Unit.’



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