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Warner Bros. Discovery saw its shares rise for the second day in a row on Thursday after announcing that it had paid down part of its debt load this week.
The financial update, announced Wednesday, was overshadowed by turmoil at CNN, where CEO Chris Licht was. expulsion. Shares closed up nearly 7% on Thursday after closing up more than 8% on Wednesday. The stock is up 49% this year.
The media giant is grappling with a large debt issue due in 2022 fusion Warner Bros. and Discovery. The company, which ended the first quarter with $49.5 billion in debt, was in the midst of various cost-cutting initiatives such as a dismissal and reducing spending on content.
Warner Bros. shares Discovery has rallied in recent days after the company announced it was paying down some of its heavy debt.
IN public filingWarner Bros. Discovery said it has repaid about $1.5 billion in debt from two of its loans. The company also announced that it has launched a $500 million cash offer to purchase any or all of its floating-rate notes, the portion of its debt that carries a high interest rate and matures in March 2024.
That led to a $2.05 billion reduction in debt in the second quarter, about $1 billion more than Wells Fargo had forecast, according to the bank’s analyst Steven Cahall.
The analyst noted that Warner Bros. Discovery thought it would have about $930 million in free cash flow in the second quarter after ending the first quarter with $2.6 billion in cash.
“We view the debt reduction as evidence of management’s confidence in generating cash in 2023 and reducing leverage,” Cahall wrote.
Warner Bros. executives Discovery said in recent earnings reports that the company is sticking to its goal of reducing its debt-to-EBITDA ratio below four times.
Any meaningful cash the company generates will likely go toward paying down debt, said a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly. Public offerings, such as the cash tender offer announced this week, are likely to serve as a means of paying down debt, the person said.
Warner Bros. Discovery is also working to make its streaming business profitable. CEO David Zaslav recently said in the company’s earnings call that the streaming business is expected to reach profitability in the US in 2023, a year earlier than expected. Company recently restarted and renamed its flagship streaming service Max, which combines content from HBO and its portfolio of cable TV networks such as the Discovery Channel and TLC.
During first quarter Warner Bros. Discovery reported revenue of $10.7 billion and a net loss of $1.1 billion.