Sports streaming service DAZN is on the cusp of an estimated $800 million deal to acquire Britain’s BT Sport, which would give it rights to the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League matches, according to four sources familiar with the matter (via Reuters).
Negotiations for the deal became public last fall, but the deal is expected to conclude as soon as this month — though it could still fall apart at any moment, the sources said. Contacted by Variety, DAZN declined to comment on the matter.
DAZN now has over 11 million subscribers, according to Reuters, while BT Sports has around 5 million total viewing households, according to Enders Analysis.
Acquiring BT Sport would expand DAZN’s reach in the U.K. and Ireland and could pave the way for an initial public stock offering on the London exchange. The sale would give BT Sport an infusion of cash at a time when it’s investing in the costly rollout of its fiber broadband and 5G wireless networks, after it has spent billions on soccer rights in an attempt to attract and retain subscribers in order to rival market-leader Sky, Reuters explained.
In 2019, DAZN spent around $1.7 billion to acquire sports rights. That year, it reported an after-tax loss of $2.15 billion, which it attributed to continuing investment in its platform and expansions in Spain and Brazil, according to regulatory findings and company data (via Reuters).
Discovery INC is currently another contender for the acquisition, though DAZN remains the frontrunner, Reuters said. The U.S. media company had previously offered to form a joint venture with BT rather than a takeover.