Britain’s competition watchdog clears BT Sports’ £540m Eurosport joint venture with Warner Bros Discovery
- BT agreed a joint venture with Eurosport owner to create in May
- The CMA has agreed to the move, which could be worth up to £540million
- BT said it will now be able to complete the merger ‘in the coming weeks’
BT’s efforts to merge its sports broadcasting business with Warner Bros Discovery has been cleared by the UK competition watchdog.
In May, the UK telecoms giant sealed a joint venture deal with the Eurosport owner to create a combined sports broadcasting business in the UK and Ireland.
The Competition and Markets Authority has now agreed to the move, which could be worth up to £540 million, after a lengthy review of its BT Sport operation.
BT’s deal to merge its sports broadcasting business with Warner Bros Discovery has been cleared by the UK competition watchdog
Last month, the CMA launched a probe into the joint venture deal, as it sought to assess whether the move could ‘result in a substantial lessening of competition’.
The CMA started with a Phase 1 investigation but has now confirmed it will not refer the deal to a more thorough Phase 2 probe, allowing the process to complete.
BT said it will now be able to complete the merger ‘in the coming weeks’, with its assets and those of Warner Bros Discovery being transferred into a new company.
It confirmed that BT Sport and Eurosport will initially retain their separate brands before being brought together ‘under a single brand’ in the future.
The board of the joint venture will be equally represented between appointees of BT and Warner Bros.Discovery.
BT said the first chairperson to be appointed, nominated by each shareholder on a rotating basis, will be Marc Allera, the current CEO of its consumer division.
Meanwhile, the new management and delivery of the joint venture will be led by Andrew Georgiou, the president and managing director of Warner Bros Discovery Sports Europe, who will also be a member of its board.
Commenting on the news, Mr Allera said: ‘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.
‘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.’
Mr Georgiou added: ‘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.’
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