According to Reuters, quoting “sources familiar with the matter”, the sports streaming service DAZN is near to reaching a takeover deal with BT Sports for $800 million. DAZN’s acquisition of the channel producer – which is a division of British telecommunications giant BT Group – would furnish it with domestic broadcast rights for the English Premier League, as well as UEFA Champions League matches. The move would instantly cement DAZN as a significant force in Britain’s sports broadcasting landscape.
The potential acquisition was first reported last Autumn; however negotiations apparently stalled and U.S. media company Discovery Inc. entered negotiations with BT as a rival bidder. Reuters reports that Discovery proposed a joint venture with BT, which the company weighed up as a possible alternative to sale. According to two Reuter sources, DAZN and Discovery are both still in negotiations with BT, but DAZN is thought to be the leading contender. The transaction would be a significant cash injection as the telecommunication company rolls out 5G next-gen wireless networks across the country.
If carried through, the deal would represent the latest in a series of bold plays for major sports rights by the streaming service. At the close of last year, as part of a broadcasting partnership with Pay TV operator Movistar, DAZN acquired domestic rights to air 175 matches from LaLiga – the top Spanish football league. The €4.96B deal saw a 20% rise in LaLiga’s rights valuation. In partnership with Sky, the company has also won domestic broadcast rights for the German Bundesliga, and exclusive rights for 114 Serie A matches.