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Warner Bros. has seen Discovery (WBD) shares hit a record low on Thursday, falling about 7%, after Formula 1 owner Liberty Global announced plans to acquire WBD’s stake in Formula E, the electric car racing series.

This acquisition brings Liberty Global’s total stake in motorsport to 65%, giving it majority ownership.

“We are excited to acquire a controlling stake in Formula E, a company we first invested in nearly ten years ago,” Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said in a statement. statement. “Formula E has huge potential for further growth while incorporating the sport’s most advanced sustainability standards.”

The deal, which is still subject to regulatory approval, is widely expected to close by the end of the year.

This news comes as questions mount about whether Warner Bros. Discovery will secure a high-stakes media rights deal with the NBA or not.

The league’s current contract is with Warner Bros. Disney’s TNT (WBD) and Disney network ESPN (DIS) expire at the end of next season. WBD, which spends $1.2 billion annually, will likely lose the rights to its gaming segment to Comcast’s NBCUniversal (CMCSA). Amazon (AMZN) as well In conversations For an exclusive streaming deal through Prime Video.

Sports content is highly sought after by media companies looking to reach large audiences of loyal viewers. This allows sports leagues to bid up the price of the rights in negotiations.

The current NBA contract is with Warner Bros.  TNT and Disney's ESPN network expire at the end of next season.  (Courtesy: AP Photo/Sam Huddy)

The current NBA contract is with Warner Bros. TNT and Disney’s ESPN network expire at the end of next season. (Courtesy: AP Photo/Sam Huddy) (News agency)

According to the Wall Street Journal, NBCUniversal has made an offer worth about $2.5 billion — more than double what WBD is currently paying. The network is closing in on a deal with the league to show about 100 games per season, with half of them broadcast exclusively on its streaming service, Peacock.

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Disney, the league’s other major broadcast partner, will retain its share of the league’s media rights after agreeing to increase its $1.5 billion annual payout to $2.6 billion in order to renew the deal, according to the report. The company will carry fewer games than its current package, though it will be able to stream games on its upcoming ESPN streaming platform, scheduled to launch in the fall of 2025.

Meanwhile, Amazon ( AMZN ) is close to securing a streaming rights package through its Prime Video service for $1.8 billion. The newspaper said that the package includes regular season matches and playoff matches in addition League play championship And a share of the conference finals, which will be rotated among the media partners.

Notably, WBD has the ability to match third-party offers before the NBA enters into any formal agreements. Last week, Warner Bros. It said The United States acquired the broadcast rights to the French Open.

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