Green light for BT/WBD sports JV
July 22, 2022
By Colin Mann
Following submission to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), BT Group and Warner Bros Discovery have welcomed the decision to approve the BT Group agreement with Warner Bros Discovery to form a 50:50 Joint Venture (JV) company that will create a new sports offering for the UK & Ireland.
The CMA’s decision now allows BT and Warner Bros Discovery to complete the creation of the JV in the coming weeks and for each of their assets to be transferred into the new company. BT Sport and Eurosport UK will be brought together to form a sports joint venture for customers, providing the JV with one of the most extensive portfolios of sports rights in the UK & Ireland. Both BT Sport and Eurosport UK will initially retain their separate brands and product propositions in the market before being brought together under a single brand in the future.
“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,” declared Marc Allera, future Chairman of the JV and CEO BT’s Consumer division. “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.”
“Combining the capabilities, portfolios and scale of BT Sport and Eurosport UK will be a big win for fans in the UK and Ireland, offering a new destination that will feature all the sport they love in one place,” added Andrew Georgiou, future board member of the JV and President and Managing Director, Warner Bros Discovery Sports Europe. “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.”
The Board of Directors of the JV will be equally represented between appointees of British Telecommunications plc and Warner Bros. Discovery. The first Chairperson to be appointed, nominated by each shareholder on a rotating basis, will be Allera. The new management and delivery of the JV will be led by Georgiou, who will be a member of its board.