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UK’s BT Group in talks to divest stake in television unit

BT Group Plc is in talks with Amazon.com Inc, Walt Disney Co and sport streaming company DAZN to divest a stake in its television unit BT Sport, The Telegraph reported https://bit.ly/3xzlmJo on Wednesday.

A British broadcaster is also involved in the discussions and potentially leading the bidding, the report said, citing City sources.

BT, Britain’s biggest broadband and mobile operator, moved into sports broadcasting in 2012 when it won the rights to show a package of live Premier League soccer matches.

Its current package, which cost 885 million pounds ($1.23 billion), allows to show 32 matches for three seasons from 2019-20. It also has the rights to show Champions League soccer until 2024 under a three-year 1.2 billion pound deal.

The Premier League would in normal circumstances have auctioned the next packages of domestic rights by now, but the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the timetable.

The Telegraph reported that the Premier League is seeking government approval to roll over the current deals, which also included Amazon.

BT, under Chief Executive Philip Jansen, is focused on its plan to rollout fiber broadband to 20 million homes and businesses this decade.

BT Group and Amazon declined to comment. Disney did not respond immediately to a Reuters request for comment. FinancialPost

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