Shares of BT Group plc were gaining around 3 percent in the morning trade in London after Billionaire Patrick Drahi’s Altice Group, a French telecom major, said Thursday that it has acquired 1.20 billion shares in the British telecom major, representing 12.1% of its share capital.
Meanwhile, Altice UK, which has been established for the purpose of holding the shares in BT, confirmed that it does not intend to make a takeover offer for BT.
Responding to Altice’s investment, BT said it welcomes all investors who recognize the long-term value of the business and the important role it plays in the UK. The company further said it is making good progress in delivering its strategy and plan.
BT’s current market capital is around 18.74 billion pounds. Germany’s Deutsche Telekom reportedly owns 12.06% stake in BT.
According to Altice UK, the significant investment was made due to BT’s compelling opportunity to deliver UK Government’s one important policy of substantial expansion of access to a full-fibre, gigabit-capable broadband network throughout the country.
Altice, an independent owner and operator of telecom and broadband networks, said it believes that the UK provides a sound environment for substantial long-term investment, supported by the current regulatory framework.
Drahi said, “BT has a significant opportunity to upgrade and extend its full-fibre broadband network to bring substantial benefits to millions of households across the UK. We fully support the management’s strategy to deliver on this opportunity.”
Altice already operates significant networks in the US, France, Portugal and Israel, combining strong engineering capabilities with efficient operations, and serving over 40 million customers. It is the second largest telecoms company in France, behind Orange.
Altice UK said it is separate from the other Altice companies but benefits from the deep and broad expertise and experience across the group.
In London, BT shares were trading at 188.93 pence, up 3.16 percent.
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