* Competition authority will not refer deal to Phase 2 probe
* BT, Warner Bros Discovery can complete creation of joint
LONDON, July 22 (Reuters) - Britain's competition watchdog
on Friday approved a merger of sports broadcasting businesses of
BT Group and Warner Bros. Discovery.
The deal to combine BT's sports TV unit with Discovery's
Eurosport in Britain and Ireland enables the British company to
retain Premier League soccer for its customers, while sharing
the burden of expensive broadcast rights.
BT, Britain's biggest broadband and mobile provider, agreed
to a sports broadcasting tie-up with Discovery in May after
months of discussions with the U.S. media company.
In June, Britain's Competition and Markets Authority
started what it calls a Phase 1 investigation on whether the
joint venture would reduce competition.
The authority said on Friday it would not refer the deal to
a in-depth Phase 2 investigation.
BT Group and Warner Bros. Discovery welcomed the decision,
which allows them to complete the creation of the joint venture,
BT Sport and Eurosport UK, in the coming weeks and to transfer
assets to it.
They said it would initially retain their separate brands
and products before later bringing them together under a single
BT and Warner Bros. Discovery will be equally represented on
the joint venture's board.
The new company will be chaired initially by Marc Allera,
chief executive of BT's consumer division. Management will be
led by Andrew Georgiou, president and managing director of
Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe.
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Jason Neely and Bradley