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BT in talks about part-sale of sports arm

Thu 29 April 2021 08:40 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - BT said it was in talks with potential investors in its sports business after press reports said the company was looking to sell a stake in the operation.

The Telegraph reported that BT was in discussions with Amazon, Disney and others to offload a stake in BT Sport because the pandemic has cast doubt over the future of sport. BT has appointed Lazard to explore a partial sale of the business so that BT can concentrate on upgrading the UK's broadband network, the paper said.

The sports streaming platform DAZN and an unidentified UK broadcaster are also potential bidders, the paper said. BT is looking to reduce its exposure with the economics of sport thrown into turmoil by Covid-19, which has emptied stadiums, forced events to be scrapped and hit advertising.

Some of Europe's biggest football clubs recently made a botched attempt to start a breakaway super league and the English Premier League is reported to have proposed shelving the upcoming auction for broadcasting rights. BT entered sports broadcasting in 2013 by securing the rights to a chunk of Premier League games but some analysts think the company should concentrate on its core telecommunications business.

In a statement on Thursday BT said: "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. The discussions are confidential and may or may not lead to an outcome."

BT shares rose 1.5% to 162.27p at 09:01 BST.

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