CMA approves BT Group & Warner Bros sports joint-venture

BT Group shares rose 0.3% to 181.6p in early morning trading on Friday, after BT Group announced the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) had approved a joint-venture between the company and Warner Bros to create a new sports offering for the UK and Ireland.

The approval is set to allow BT and Warner Bros to complete the formation of the joint-venture over the next several weeks, and for each company to transfer their assets into the new group.

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The operation will join BT Sport and Eurosport UK, providing the joint-venture with one of the most expansive portfolios of sports rights across the UK and Ireland market.

“It’s great news that the CMA has approved the new JV that we are forming with Warner Bros. Discovery, combining the very best of BT Sport and Eurosport UK, to create an exciting new offer for live sport programming in the UK,” said BT Consumer Division CEO Marc Allera.

“Today is a huge milestone, as we now look toward day one of the new business, which we hope to be in the coming weeks.” 

BT Group added that BT Sport and Eurosport will initially retain their separate brands and product propositions in the market, before the companies are joined together under a single brand in the coming months.

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“Combining the capabilities, portfolios and scale of BT Sport and Eurosport UK will be a big win for fans in the UK & Ireland, offering a new destination that will feature all the sport they love in one place,” said Warner Bros Discovery Sports Europe managing director Andrew Georgiou.

“We now look forward to closing the transaction and having the opportunity to further engage all stakeholders in the process of forming and developing the JV.”

BT Group confirmed the board of directors of the joint-venture would be equally represented between the executives of BT Group and Warner Bros, with Marc Allera nominated as the first appointed chairperson by shareholders on a rotating basis, and Andrew Georgiou selected as the new management and delivery leader.

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