Altice UK Buys 12.1% of BT Group but Doesn't Plan Takeover -- Update
--Altice UK, owned by tycoon Patrick Drahi, has built a 12.1%
stake in BT Group
--Altice UK said it doesn't plan to make an offer for the U.K.
--BT shares rose on the latest sign of support for its
By Ian Walker and Adria Calatayud
Altice UK Sarl, a company owned by French telecommunications
tycoon Patrick Drahi, said Thursday that it has bought a 12.1%
shareholding in BT Group PLC, but doesn't plan to make an offer for
the U.K. telecoms company.
Altice UK said it holds the board and management team of BT in
high regard and is supportive of their strategy.
The company said BT has a compelling opportunity to deliver on
the U.K. government's full-fiber, gigabit-capable broadband network
Altice UK owns 1.2 billion shares in BT that are valued at 2.20
billion pounds ($3.11 billion), based on BT's closing price of
183.15 pence Wednesday.
BT said that it welcomes all investors who recognize the
long-term value of its business and the role it plays in the U.K.
"We are making good progress in delivering our strategy and plan,"
The investment from Altice UK is the latest sign of support for
BT, which is trying to accelerate its fiber-network rollout and to
bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. The U.K. telecoms group
has previously said it expects to return to earnings growth in
fiscal 2023, after years of declining profits and revenue.
At 0736 GMT, BT shares were trading 1.7% higher at 186.25 pence,
and were up 41% in the year to date.
BT last month said it targeted building fiber-broadband
connections to 25 million homes and businesses in the U.K., up from
its previous target of 20 million, and that it would explore
funding the 5 million additional deployments through a joint
venture with external partners.
Altice UK's investment in BT makes it one of the top
shareholders of the company, with a stake of roughly the same size
as that indirectly held by German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom
AG. According to BT's fiscal 2021 annual report, Deutsche Telekom's
T-Mobile Holdings has a 12.06% stake.
France's Orange in 2019 completed the sale of the shares it held
Altice UK said it has been established for the purpose of
holding the shares in BT, and that it is separate from the other
Mr. Drahi last year agreed to take full control of Altice Europe
NV, in a deal that led to the delisting of the company in
Write to Ian Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org and Adria Calatayud at
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 10, 2021 04:18 ET (08:18 GMT)
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