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Rupert Murdoch’s News UK Sniffs Possible BT TV Partnership UPDATE

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021 (9:30 am) - Score 2,040
bt_sport_studio_picture

Rupert Murdoch’s News UK (News Corp), which publishes the Sun and the Times newspapers, has reportedly expressed an interest in a partnership with BT’s Pay TV business. The telecoms giant is currently known to be considering a sale of BTSport in order to help fund their £15bn rollout of full fibre broadband.

At present the BT Group is busy re-focusing their efforts toward supporting the deployment of Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology to 25 million UK premises by December 2026 and, on top of that, they also have the ongoing rollout of ultrafast 5G mobile infrastructure – as well as the replacement of Huawei’s existing kit – to consider.

Suffice to say that BT has made no secret of the fact that they’re keen to find ways of raising additional investment to help support such work, which among other things could include a sale (i.e. complete disposal or only a partial stake) or partnership (joint venture) of their TV broadcasting business (e.g. BTSport). By sharing the burden of their TV business, they’d gain more flexibility to spend on their network side.

Back in April it was similarly reported that BT had hired investment bank Lazard to oversee this process (here). At the same time, it was claimed that BT had already held tentative early talks with a number of interested parties, such as Dazn, Amazon, ITV, Discovery and Walt Disney, as well as various private equity firms.

According to The Telegraph (paywall), sources have informed the newspaper that Rupert Murdoch’s News UK has now joined the aforementioned group of interested parties. Early talks are understood to have already taken place, but that doesn’t mean to say that a deal will emerge. Meanwhile, rival Dazn is still said to be showing the greatest appetite for a deal with BT.

News UK is apparently keen to find new sources of growth (traditional print newspapers are struggling), although it’s unclear whether BT’s TV broadcasting side would be the right vehicle for that. News UK is believed to have an interest in developing a TV news service too, although between the BBC, Sky News, GB News and others, the market is starting to get a bit crowded. By the sounds of it, News UK may be more interested in building commercial ties with BT.

UPDATE 3:06pm

A spokesperson for News UK said: “News UK held an early stage discussion with BT Sport to explore limited, commercial partnership opportunities. It is not pursuing those discussions any further.”

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. adslmax says:

    Rupert Murdoch – do yourself a big flavour – GO AWAY! WE DON’T WANT YOUR BUSINESS!

    1. John says:

      The most sensible thing you’ve ever said.

  2. Ray Woodward says:

    I have to confess this made me really laugh! All those people who slagged of Sky (because of Murdoch) even after Comcast bought it and now those same people that left Sky and reckoned BT Sport was the holy grail now find Murdoch thinking of getting involved.

    What goes around really does come around …

  3. Yatta! says:

    Murdoch is a cancer upon American, Australian and British politics and public discourse. The sooner the world is free from his disease, the better.

    1. kevinlonghorn says:

      The guy pretty much ordered the politicians to demolish the Australian fibre network that would have removed his Cable network power down under.

  4. anonymous says:

    Murdoch – the guy that never dies. Better than a Duracell battery, on and on.

    How many lives his trashy papers trashed?

    You think with all his money, he’d sit back and enjoy wahtever life he has left. Must be a mental thing over power and control…

  5. Mark says:

    Money talks, Murdoch’s ill gotten gains & his political power talk loudest.

    He know’s he’s a slime ball and doesn’t give a fig about it. If his involvement in BT extends further than BT Sport (I don’t use it, but he tends to extend his tentacles once in) I’ll be looking for a new ISP, after being with GPO/British Telecom/BT for a lifetime of phone & network services.

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