Sky and BT shares surge after seizing Premier League football rights

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Investors have cheered Sky and BT after the two media giants stumped up £4.5 billion to claim the broadcasting rights to dozens of Premier League football matches.

Sky was up 3% in morning trading on the London Stock Exchange, as it won the race to become the main broadcaster of live Premier League football by seizing four of the seven TV rights packages for 2019-22.

BT was also enjoying a strong session, lifting more than 1% despite securing a smaller bundle of games.

The telecoms firm brought the other package on offer in the auction round, shifting its Saturday slot of 5.30pm to 32 games at a new time of 12.30pm.

A further two packages are still up for grabs, with bidding set to continue when the auction restarts on Thursday, but the cost-per-game price has fallen to £9.3 million, down from the current £10.2 million.

Despite speculation that America’s tech giant would mount an incursion into live Premier League broadcasting, the likes of Amazon or Netflix have been absent from the process so far.

George Salmon, equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “There’s two packages still up for grabs, but so far Sky is the big winner from the Premier League auction.

“Securing more games at a lower cost is a major coup, and with BT seemingly content to play second fiddle on the Premier League, that rivalry now looks to have thawed.

“There’s always the chance the remaining two packages spring a surprise, but with reserve prices not yet reached, it’s safe to say Amazon, Netflix and other potential new entrants aren’t prepared to adopt the aggressive strategy Sky execs must have feared.”

It comes despite Sky’s share price enduring a choppy few months in response to an attempt by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox to buy the 61% of the group it does not already own.

The Game of Thrones broadcaster is also facing the prospect of being snapped up by Walt Disney if a 66 billion US dollar (£47 billion) takeover of Fox’s entertainment assets, including Sky, gets the go-ahead.

Mr Salmon continued: “All this means Sky looks much healthier than when Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox first bid for the business.

“In early trading the shares touched £10.95, 20p ahead of the price Fox has agreed to pay. This tells us Murdoch might need to come back with an improved offer.”

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