Warner Bros. Discovery-BT Sport Joint Venture Approved By U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of the United Kingdom has given its blessing to the partnership between Warner Bros. Discovery and the multinational telecommunications corporation BT.

In May, the businesses announced a premium sports collaboration for the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Because BT Sport and Eurosport U.K. will be co-managed as a result of the planned 50-50 joint venture between Warner Bros.

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Discovery and BT Sport, the latter will be moved to the former. This business endeavor will have one of the most extensive portfolios of premium sports rights, including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, the Premier League, Premiership Rugby, UFC, the Olympic Games, tennis Grand Slams including the Australian Open and Roland-Garros, cycling Grand Tours including the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, and the winter sports World Cup season.

Warner Bros. Discovery-BT Sport Joint Venture Approved By U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority
Warner Bros. Discovery-BT Sport Joint Venture Approved By U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority

“The Competition and Markets Authority is assessing whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if taken into effect, would result in the formation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the development of that situation may be anticipated to result, in a substantial decrease of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom,” the CMA had stated in June when it initiated a probe into the venture.

Warner Bros. Discovery said on Friday that the collaboration will move forward after receiving approval. “The CMA’s judgment now permits BT and Warner Bros. Discovery to finalize the establishment of the JV in the coming weeks,” Warner Bros. Discovery said in a statement. “It also allows for each of their assets to be transferred into the new firm.”

The board of directors of the joint venture will have nominees from both British Telecommunications plc and Warner Bros. Discovery, with each company having an equal number of seats on the board.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division, will be the first person to be elected to the chair, which is a position that is nominated by each shareholder on a rotating basis.

Andrew Georgiou, who is currently the president and managing director of Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe and will be joining the board of directors of the joint venture, will take charge of the new management and delivery of the business.

Allera stated that it is “wonderful news that the CMA has authorized the new JV that we are creating with Warner Bros. Discovery. This exciting new offer for live sports programming in the United Kingdom will combine the very best of BT Sport and Eurosport U.K..” Today marks a significant turning point in our journey toward the launch of the new company, which we anticipate will take place in the coming weeks.

Georgiou continued by saying, “Combining the strengths, portfolios, and size of BT Sport and Eurosport U.K. will be a significant gain for fans in the United Kingdom and Ireland, giving a new destination that will include all of the sports they love in one spot. This will be a tremendous win for fans.”

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We are now looking forward to completing the acquisition and to having the chance to further involve all relevant parties in the process of founding and growing the joint venture.

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