Friday 30 April 2021 8:47 am

BT confirms talks to offload stake in TV arm in broadband push

BT has confirmed that it is in talks with major streaming platforms to offload a stake in its television arm as it focuses on its broadband division.

BT Sport launched in 2012 in a bid to take out rival Sky which has accrued somewhat of a monopoly on Premier League television rights.

It confirmed this morning that it is holding “early discussions” with “a number of select strategic partners”.

The telecoms giant has appointed investment bank Lazard to explore a possible sale of BT Sport, the Telegraph has reported.

BT is reportedly holding discussions with potential partners including Amazon and Disney.

ITV is also reportedly in the running, meaning top tier football could return to terrestrial television.

“Further to media reports, BT can confirm that early discussions are being held with a number of select strategic partners, to explore ways to generate investment, strengthen our sports business, and help take it to the next stage in its growth,” BT said in a statement today.

“The discussions are confidential and may or may not lead to an outcome

A British broadcaster is also in talks to snap up a stake as well as sports streaming firm Dazn, run by Ukrainian-born billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik.

The pandemic has cast doubt over the future of sports broadcasting and BT is now focusing its attention on upgrading the country’s broadband network instead.

“The world of sport has been rocked by coronavirus. It’s no surprise that BT is rethinking how best to keep growing the business,” a source told the newspaper.

The Telegraph reported BT Sport is keen to retain a stake having invested billions in recent years and its future will be dependent on whether a deal can be agreed.

On Tuesday it emerged the Premier League is close to renewing its £4.7bn domestic broadcast contracts with Sky, BT and Amazon.

It has chosen a private sale to current partners on the same terms as existing deals rather than a traditional auction of the rights for 2022-2025, according to SportBusiness Media.

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