The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced that it is investigating the anticipated joint venture between Warner Bros. Discovery and BT Group.
The companies’ UK and Irish sports media plans were concluded last month, which combined BT Sport and Eurosport UK for a portfolio which would include rights to the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, UFC, Olympic Games, tennis Grand Slams and the winter sports World Cup season.
In a statement, the authority explained that it is “considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002”.
The group continued: “And, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”
The venture would see BT Sport gain £93 million from Warner Bros. Discovery and up to around £540 million by way of an earn-out from the JV, whilst the firm transferred to Warner Bros. Discovery, meaning that BT Sport and Eurosport UK will operate together.
The CMA has notified the parties of the launch of an inquiry into the deal, and comments are invited from now until 17 June. The organisation has given a deadline of 28 July to decide whether to refer the deal for an ‘in-depth’ Phase 2 investigation.