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Hold off on buying Warner Bros. Discovery, JPMorgan says in downgrade

Investors should wait before buying shares of Warner Bros. Discovery , according to JPMorgan. Analyst Philip Cusick downgraded the stock to neutral from overweight, saying in a note Thursday that the newly formed media company faces several challenges as inflation pressures rise. The downgrade comes after a brief restriction period in which JPMorgan removed its rating on the stock. “While we believe WBD will overachieve on its synergy guidance, our updated 2023 estimates are below guidance given the recent reduction at legacy WM, newly forming economic headwinds that could impact advertising, and less comfort around the path of the pivot to DTC,” the note read. JPMorgan gave Warner Bros Discovery a December 2023 price target of $22, which is roughly 48% above where shares closed on Wednesday. The analyst said he is “skeptical” of Warner Bros. Discovery’s ability to scale after its merger even if the company does have the assets to invest in its streaming strategy. “[We] are not negative on WBD shares, but prefer to wait for more clarity around the updated DTC strategy (timing, pricing, content) and pro forma financials before getting more excited – particularly at 5x 2022 leverage as integration efforts ramp,” the note read. Shares of Warner Bros Discovery fell more than 2% in Thursday premarket trading. –CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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