BT Group and Warner Bros. Discovery’s Merger Greenlit by the UK CMA

BT Group and Warner Bros. Discovery’s Merger Greenlit by the UK CMA

BT Group and Warner Bros. Discovery’s merger has been greenlit by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Thanks to this development, the two companies will be able to provide the Irish and UK markets with new sports betting products. 

BT Sport Was Initially Targeted by DAZN, But the Merger Shut Down the OTT Platform’s Plans 

After the exclusive discussions were announced in February, BT Sport and Warner Bros. Discovery’s Eurosport UK merged and came to a definitive agreement in May. Both parties agreed to create a joint venture company, which comes with a 50:50 ownership and will provide UK and Ireland (the JV) with a new sports betting offering. 

Additionally, it was revealed that BT will receive £93 million ($111 million) from Warner Bros. Discovery and around £540 million ($645 million) earn-outs from the JV once the T&Cs are met. The deal stated that once the transaction is greenlit, BT Sport will become a subsidiary owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. 

JV’s board of directors will be equally represented by both companies and the board’s chair will be nominated by each shareholder, with the first one being Marc Allera. 

Interestingly enough, the first company that was interested in purchasing BT Sport was DAZN. It was reported that DAZN wanted to purchase the entity for a price of $850 million, but the May announcement dealt a massive blow to the OTT platform, and was forced to seek expansion in a different way. 

Additionally, DAZN introduced its DAZN Bet platform, whose sportsbook solutions were provided by Pragmatic Play. Most recently, DAZN Bet added Kevin Alvarez as the entity’s head of IT operations. 

The Merger Into a Single Entity is Planned For the Future 

Both Warner Bros. Discovery and BT Sport will continue to work under their current identities, however, a merger into a single entity will definitely happen in the future. 

Allera, the CEO of the consumer division at BT stated that CMA’s approval is great news and with the JV, both companies will be able to offer new live sports programming solutions. He also marked the development as a “huge milestone.” 

Andrew Georgiou, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe’s MD and president, stated that the combined knowledge and products of BT Sport and Eurosport UK are nothing short but a “big win for the fans in the UK and Ireland.” 

Georgiou ended by saying that he’s eager to close the transaction and provide fans with the opportunity to engage with sports on a much broader scale once the JV is formed and developed. 

Allera may be the joint venture’s first CEO, but management will be led by Georgiou.