BT Group (LON:BT.A) has lost the rights to broadcast Italian Serie A football matches in the UK, the Financial Times has reported. The news marks a blow for the former telecoms giant, with European football having become the backbone of BT Sport after the FTSE 100 company outbid rivals in 2013 for the broadcast rights to Champions League and Europa League matches in the UK.
BT’s share price fell in the previous session, giving up 1.84 percent to 223.65p, and underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index ending trading in positive territory. The group’s shares have lost just under 23 percent of their value over the past year.
BT loses Italian Serie A
The FT reported yesterday that BT had lost the UK broadcast rights for Italy’s Serie A football matches to rival Eleven Sports. Multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation told the newspaper that Eleven, owned by Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani, the owner of Leeds United football club, had signed a deal with IMG, the international sports rights company, which owns the broadcasting rights to Serie A matches.
The news marks a blow for the UK group, and comes after earlier in the week, a little over a third of voters rejected the telco’s remuneration report at the company’s annual general meeting.
Analysts on telco
Credit Suisse, which sees BT as a ‘neutral,’ lowered its price target on the shares from 280p to 235p yesterday, while earlier in the week, Barclays reaffirmed the group as an ‘equal weight,’ without specifying a valuation on the stock. According to MarketBeat, the former telecoms monopoly currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 292.06p.