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BT and Warner Bros close sports merger transaction

BT Sport Football

Warner Bros Discovery and BT Group have completed their transaction to form a joint venture combining the assets of BT Sport and Eurosport UK.

BT Sport and Eurosport UK will be merged into a single sports joint operation covering the UK and Ireland, which will have the Olympic Games, the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, the Premier League, Premiership Rugby, MotoGP, UFC, Boxing, WWE, tennis Grand Slams, cycling Grand Tours and the winter sports World Cup season on its books.

BT Sport and Eurosport UK will retain their separate brands until the union into a single joint operation is complete. We’re told the intention is to launch a new sports brand in the market together with some sort of entertainment offering from Warner Bros Discovery. The first Chairperson of the JV is Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division. Andrew Georgiou, President and Managing Director of Warner Bros Discovery Sports Europe will ‘lead the business.’

“As we enter our ninth season, today is day one of an exciting new chapter for BT Sport,” said Allera. “I am extremely proud of the teams and the established brand and broadcaster that BT Sport has become, and I look forward to working with Warner Bros. Discovery to create an exciting new sport TV offering for the UK.”

Georgiou added: “Today marks the start of our journey to build a new sports destination for fans in the UK and Ireland. Combining BT Sport and Eurosport UK together with Warner Bros Discovery’s world-class and growing entertainment offering will result in an exciting new proposition for consumers. It’s important for fans to know they can continue to enjoy BT Sport and Eurosport UK as they do today and we’ll keep them updated on future plans as soon as we can. We are pleased the transaction has closed and we can now further engage all stakeholders in the process of establishing the JV and developing its extensive combined sports offer.”

BT announced in February that it was holding exclusive talks with Warner Bros Discovery with a view to creating a 50:50 sports broadcasting joint venture, which followed rumours that it was planning to exit sports. The initial announcement stated that BT will receive £93 million from Warner Bros Discovery (payable in instalments over the three years following transaction completion) and up to a £540 million by way of an earn-out from the JV during the earn-out period, subject to certain conditions being met.

UK business regulator the Competitions and Markets Authority subsequently gave the nod the merger in July.

 

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