BT finalizes sports joint venture deal from Warner Bros Discovery

BT Group has agreed to set up a new sports joint venture with Warner Bros Discovery in the UK and Ireland.

The telecom giant confirmed the deal as it also reported that the trade is “on track” despite a drop in revenue over the past year.

In February, BT announced it was in exclusive negotiations with the US media giant after completing a lengthy review of its BT Sport operations.

It confirmed it will now set up a 50:50 joint venture that will bring together BT Sport and Eurosport.

BT said the two brands would initially remain separate but ultimately “merge under a single brand in the future”.

The London-listed company said it will receive £93m from Warner Bros Discovery immediately and up to £540m if future conditions are met.

The confirmation came as BT told shareholders it had met expectations with profit up 2% to £7.6 billion for the year to March as cost savings offset lower earnings.

BT said it would expand its cost savings plans to save £2.5 billion by the end of 2025, changing previous targets of £2 billion in savings by 2024.

Cost cutting has helped the company absorb some inflationary pressures, it added.

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Revenue for the year fell 2% to £20.8 billion on lower sales across its enterprise and global businesses, although the company benefited from a strong performance from its Openreach network business.

The consumer business, which focuses on the mobile brand EE, returned to growth in the last quarter.

Chief Executive Philip Jansen said: “BT Group has delivered another strong operational performance thanks to the efforts of our colleagues across the business.

“We have completed the sports joint venture with Warner Bros Discovery to enhance our content offering to consumers and align our business with a new global content powerhouse.

“Separately, we have strengthened our strategic partnership and important customer relationship with Sky, now that we have extended our mutual channel supply agreement into the next decade and entered into a memorandum of understanding to extend our co-provisioning agreement.”

We’ve necessarily increased the prices, but also improved what people can get for that pricePhilip Jansen, BT Managing Director

The boss also said the company hasn’t seen any customers cut subscriptions in response to cost-of-living pressures.

“No, we haven’t seen anything yet that suggests we’re seeing that,” he told reporters.

“We have consistently made sure that we recognize the pressure in all of our customers and as such have a strong focus on prioritizing value for money.

“We’ve necessarily increased prices, but also improved what people can get for that cost.”

BT shares are up 2.2% in early trade. BT finalizes sports joint venture deal from Warner Bros Discovery

Fry Electronics Team

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