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Discovery to bid for Premier League rights

Discovery Communications will join the auction for lucrative English Premier League rights in the UK, according to Bloomberg.

David ZaslavDiscovery has majority control of European broadcaster Eurosport having made its move last year, and is prepared to stump up the big money required to secure matches.

News wire Bloomberg attributed the news to a pair of unnamed sources.

However, it will face intense competition from satcaster Sky, Rupert Murdoch’s UK company that recently merged with its pay TV cousins in Italy and Germany, and telco BT, which has dented Sky’s monopoly by shelling out billions of pounds on the EPL.

It is possible Discovery will look to partner with one of these firms. Last February, company CEO David Zaslav said: “Are there opportunities to get longer-term growth by stepping up in certain markets for more sports? If we do it, there’s a good chance we’ll be doing it in a joint bidding with a distributor or a player in the market.”

In July 2012 Sky and BT paid £3 billion (US$4.5 billion) to carve up the matches over the following three years.

Discovery has been linked with bids for French rugby rights, and earlier this year attempted to gain Serie A Italian football matches, though it was ultimately unsuccessful.

Zaslav has previously said believs Eurosport to be the “ESPN of Europe”, and acquiring any Premier League games would have a significant effect on the channel’s standing.

Discovery declined to comment on the report.