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A new agreement could scupper the proposed £600 million sale to streaming service DAZN
Thursday 09 Dec 2021 Author: Steven Frazer

BT’s protracted £600 million sale of its sports channels to streaming service DAZN could be off after reports emerged that the UK telecoms group was in separate talks with Discovery. The US broadcaster, which already operates the Eurosport channels, is thought to have proposed a joint venture with BT.

BT Sport has rights to some Premier League and exclusive Champions League football, plus Ashes cricket. Discovery holds a long-term agreement to show the Olympic Games in Europe. In the UK, DAZN is largely known for its boxing coverage, and the acquisition of BT Sport would bring considerable opportunity, and sports rights, to   the unprofitable broadcaster.

BT has itself been the subject of takeover speculation in recent months after French telecoms billionaire Patrick Drahi built a 12.1% stake in the business. The UK business is a possible target for Deutsche Telekom, which owns a little more than 12% in BT itself.

Takeover interest in the European telecoms sectors has ignited in the wake of private equity firm KKR tabling an offer to buy Telecom Italia. That move has prompted analysts to speculate where buyers might spot hidden value elsewhere in the sector given the lacklustre multi-year performance of its constituents.

BT shares have rallied almost 30% since October, hitting 173.45p.

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