There’s a world in which BT emerged from the pandemic as a big winner. Demand for reliable broadband went through the roof as office dwellers worked from home while lots of people were looking to be entertained at home – so its TV offering should have been in demand too.
However, a legacy of public ownership and a large rather unwieldy set of operations means BT has all the agility to take advantage of market opportunities of an African elephant and its shares are only a smidge higher than their pre-Covid levels.
“Having made a big pitch for a slice of the football pie some years ago, battling out with Sky for rights to Premier League and Champions League football, BT now wants to find a partner to share the huge costs involved,” said AJ Bell’s Russ Mould.
“Eurosport-owner Discovery looks to be ready to step in and this would be a positive development for BT even if it would represent an admission of at least partial failure for the bold sporting rights strategy launched a decade ago. Though if you were feeling kind, you could say it did the job of stemming the loss of broadband customers to Sky.
“BT’s uneasy truce with its big rival was reflected in an extension in the reciprocal sharing of content across its platforms out to 2030.
“The company’s business-to-business operation endured a tricky quarter, which contributed to the negative market reaction to this latest update.
“Telecoms magnate Patrick Drahi’s presence on the shareholder register is likely to keep up the pressure on BT management, with speculation of a possible bid or break up of the business unlikely to go away soon.”