UK CMA to launch investigation on Warner Bros. Discovery-BT venture

UK CMA to launch investigation on Warner Bros. Discovery-BT venture

The UK CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) is reportedly launching an investigation on the joint venture (JV) between telco giant BT Group plc and media giant Warner Bros. Discovery.

The two parties unveiled a premium sports venture in May for Ireland and the UK. The 50-50 JV would result in BT Sport transferring to Warner Bros. Discovery. This indicates that BT Sport and Eurosport U.K. are managed together.

The venture will comprise one of the most decorated premium sports portfolios including the Premier League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Champions League, UFC, the Olympic Games, and Premiership Rugby.

It also includes tennis Grand Slams featuring Roland-Garros and the Australian Open, cycling Grand Tours including Giro d’Italia, and Tour de France along with the winter sports World Cup season.

Regarding the investigation, the CMA has stated that it is considering whether this transaction, if successful, will create a relevant merger scenario under the merger policies of the Enterprise Act 2002.

The organization will also investigate whether such a situation might result in the reduction of competition within any market/markets in the UK for goods and services.

The first phase of the investigation launched on June 1st and CMA has opened comment on the JV till June 17th. Following this, the authority will decide by July 28th whether to start the next phase of the investigation.

As per sources from Warner Bros. Discovery, the recent announcement referred that the deal will be executed subject to usual closing conditions including sanctions by relevant regulatory bodies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Eurosport U.K. and BT Sport will initially retain their product propositions and individual brands before being consolidated under one brand in the future.

The joint venture will also extend a new deal with Sky beyond 2030 to offer for its distribution of the combined sports content of the venture.

Source credit:

https://variety.com/2022/tv/global/warner-bros-discovery-bt-joint-venture-investigation-1235282407/