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ITV 'withdraws interest in BT Sport tie-up'

ITV 'withdraws interest in BT Sport tie-up'
© Reuters
ITV reportedly decides against a tie-up with BT Sport after exploratory discussions between the two broadcasters.

ITV has reportedly decided against making an investment in BT Sport following the news that BT is in the market for a broadcasting partner.

The telecoms giant confirmed last month that it is in discussions with a number of parties about a possible tie-up on the TV sports division of its business as it instead looks to divert investment into fibre broadband rollout.

ITV, the UK's largest commercial broadcaster, was named as one of the possible partners in BT Sport, which owns the broadcasting rights to the Premier League, the FA Cup, Champions League, Europa League, German Bundesliga and other properties.

According to The Times, however, after holding discussions ITV is "not planning to take it any further" - and furthermore, the newspaper goes on to claim that mooted interest from Amazon, Disney and Discovery has also dried up.

That would leave streaming service DAZN, owned by British-American billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik, as the last known interested party in some kind of deal with BT.

The outfit has made its name with boxing rights but recently pulled off a shock coup of the domestic rights to Italy's Serie A from Sky Italia in a three-year £730m deal and is known to want to enter the UK market in a serious way.

BT is thought to be keen to resolve the future of BT Sport in short order as the broadcaster is close to agreeing a rollover of its portion of Premier League rights for another three seasons.

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