French billionaire Patrick Drahi accumulates 18% stake in BT

The president of French media and telecommunications group Altice, Patrick Drahi smiles during the inauguration of the Altice Campus in Paris on October 9, 2018.

Eric Piermont | AFP | beautiful pictures

LONDON – French billionaire Patrick Drahi has increased his stake in the British telecommunications company BT, which sparked a response from the UK government amid fears of a full-blown takeover.

BT said its board was informed that Altice, Drahi’s telecommunications group, had increased its stake in BT to 18% from 12.1%.

BT stock fell 6% Tuesday morning.

“BT Group’s board of directors and management will continue to run the business in the future
interest of all shareholders and remain focused on successful implementation
strategy and builds on recent momentum,” BT said in a statement Tuesday.

Originating from the founding of the world’s first public telegraph company in 1846, BT is an iconic company in UK corporate history. The company was formerly state-owned, but was privatized in the late 20th century.

In recent years, BT has struggled to convince investors of its vision of upgrading the nation’s network infrastructure and becoming a key player in the move to mobile Internet. Next generation 5G. Shares in the £16.3 billion ($21.6 billion) company have fallen about 55% over the past five years.

Drahi, who is it? born in Morocco but immigrated to France as a teenager, according to Forbes, founded Altice in 2001.

He stunned the telecom world in June when his company paid £2.2 billion for a 12.1% stake in BT. His interest in BT has raised concerns about a possible takeover of the company.

The businessman has been prevented from pursuing further share ownership in BT until December 11 due to UK takeover regulations. On Tuesday, Altice said it has no intention of acquiring BT, but that could change under certain circumstances – including if a third party makes an offer.

In a statement, Drahi said his company was “constructively engaged” with BT’s board and management and “looks forward to continuing that dialogue.”

“We continue to appreciate them and remain fully supportive of their strategy of playing a fundamental role in expanding access to a full fiber optic broadband network,” said Drahi. “Drahi said.

News of Drahi stepping up his stake in BT sparked a reaction from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government on Tuesday. In a brief statement, a government spokesman said it was “monitoring the situation carefully.”

“The government is committed to upgrading the country through digital infrastructure and will not hesitate to act if required to protect our vital national telecommunications infrastructure,” the spokesperson said. I”.

The UK will implement new laws in January 2022 that will give it the power to interfere in acquisitions that raise national security concerns.

The government is considering a number of foreign-led takeovers over such concerns, including Nvidia’s. acquires chip designer Arm and a Chinese company acquires UK’s largest chip maker.

Other potential buyers have been rumored to be considering acquiring BT. Reliance Industries, an Indian multinational corporation, recently denied a report from the Economic Times that it was considering making an offer for the company. French billionaire Patrick Drahi accumulates 18% stake in BT

Emma James

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