Competition watchdog approves BT Warner Bros. Discovery JV

UK competition watchdog the CMA has approved the planned 50:50 joint venture between BT and Warner Bros. Discovery that will BT Sport folded into a new entity with Eurosport UK to take on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland.

The CMA said that it had “cleared the anticipated joint venture between Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. and BT Group plc” and added that “the full text of the decision will be published shortly”.

BT and Warner Bros. Discovery welcomed the decision.

The CMA’s approval clears the way for the pair to complete the creation of the JV in the coming weeks and for each of their assets to be transferred into the new company.  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.

BT and Warner Bros. Discovery will have equal voting rights in the JV.

The Board of Directors of the JV will be equally represented between appointees of BT and Warner Bros. Discovery. The first chairperson to be appointed, nominated by each shareholder on a rotating basis, will be Marc Allera, CEO BT’s Consumer division. The new management and delivery of the JV will be led by Andrew Georgiou, president and managing director, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe, who will be a member of its board.

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.”

Georgiou, said: “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.”

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