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BT seals Warner Bros Discovery sports joint venture deal

By By Henry Saker-Clark, PA Deputy Business Editor
BT has confirmed a new sports tie-up with Warner Bros Discovery (BT/PA)

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

The telecoms giant confirmed the deal as it also reported that trading is “on the right track” despite a dip in revenues for the past year.

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

It confirmed it will now form a 50-50 joint venture which will bring together BT Sport and Eurosport.

BT said the two brands will initially stay separate but will ultimately be brought “together under a single brand in the future”.

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

The confirmation came as BT told shareholders it met expectations with a 2% increase in earnings to £7.6 billion for the year to March, as cost savings offset lower revenues.

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

Cost reductions have helped the company absorb some inflation pressures, it added.

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Revenues for the year dropped by 2% to £20.8 billion, driven by lower sales in its enterprise and global businesses, although the firm benefited from a strong performance by its Openreach network business.

It added that its consumer business, which is focused around the EE mobile brand, returned to growth in the final quarter.

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

“We have finalised the sports joint venture with Warner Bros Discovery to improve our content offering to customers, aligning our business with a new global content powerhouse.

“Separately, we have strengthened our strategic partnership and key customer relationship with Sky, having now extended our reciprocal channel supply deal into the next decade and agreed a MoU (memorandum of understanding) to extend our co-provisioning agreement.”

We have made a necessary increase to prices but have improved what people can get for that cost as wellPhilip Jansen, BT chief executive

The boss also said the company has not seen customers axing subscriptions in response to cost-of-living pressures.

“No, we haven’t seen anything to suggest we are seeing that yet,” he told reporters.

“We have been consistent that we recognise the pressure across all our customers so we are focusing hard on prioritising value for money.

“We have made a necessary increase to prices but have improved what people can get for that cost as well.”

Shares in BT increased by 2.2% in early trading.

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Dive Deeper:
BT and Warner Bros Discovery join forces to create pay-TV sport business
Joint venture will bring together rights to sports including Premier League, Champions League and Olympics
BT-Warner Bros Discovery Collaborate Over Premium Sports in UK and Ireland
BT Group Plc (OTC:BTGOF) concluded its long-awaited deal with Warner Bros Discovery, Inc (NASDAQ:WBD) to form a joint venture for its sports business as it reinstated its…
BT Sport strike TV deal worth up to £633m as company joins forces with 'content powerhouse'
BT Sport has decided to branch out as the telecoms operator seeks external investment as they look to promote company…
“Build like fury” - BT boss pledge on faster internet speeds
BT boss Philip Jansen today hailed the telecom giant’s roll out of top speed internet, saying the Openreach arm “continues…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Boris broadband promise will be missed -- it is still a significant achievement
City Comment: But for Boris’s blind ambition, we’d be much further behind on fast internet
Looney’s tune on windfall taxes is unpersuasive
The BP chief executive calls the proposed levy ‘unpredictable’ but it is also thoroughly affordable
Get all your news in one place