BT Sport and Eurosport UK merger cleared by competition regulator
Warner Bros Discovery and BT Group have won approval from the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) to merge BT Sport and Eurosport in the UK & Ireland.
Both BT Sport and Eurosport UK will retain their existing brand identities for an interim period
Regulatory approval clears the way for both media partners to pool their assets into a newly-formed joint venture vehicle (JV), split 50:50 between both parties, as the basis for a distinct live sports offer.
Marc Allera, chief executive officer of BT’s consumer division, will take the helm of the new business initially under an agreement to rotate the role between both shareholders, with Andrew Georgiou, president and managing director of Warner Bros Discovery Sports Europe, heading up management and delivery.
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 sports 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.”
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. 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.”
Both BT Sport and Eurosport UK will retain their existing brand identities for an interim period, in the understanding that they will be unified under a common umbrella brand once the new entity finds its footing.
Negotiations on the joint pay TV venture began in February, uniting BT’s tent pole broadcast rights to the Premier League and Champions League with Eurosport’s rights to the Olympics, as well as tennis and cycling competitions.