Altice UK, a business owned by billionnaire Patrick Drahi, has acquired 12.1 percent equity stake in BT Group for around 2.2 billion pounds.
BT Group in a statement said that it notes the announcement from Altice of their investment in BT and their statement of support for our management and strategy.
“We welcome all investors who recognize the long-term value of our business and the important role it plays in the UK. We are making good progress in delivering our strategy and plan,” BT Group said.
“Altice holds the Board and Management team of BT in high regard and is supportive of their strategy,” Altice UK, a company formed for the purpose of holding the BT stake, said in a statement.
Altice UK has informed the BT Board that it does not intend to make a takeover offer for BT.
The stake was worth about 2.2 billion pounds based on BT’s closing price on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Britain’s biggest broadband and mobile operator has set out plans to extend fibre broadband to 25 million homes and businesses by 2026, and it is seeking a partner to help fund the work.
It is also considering selling a stake in its sports TV operation.
Altice’s SFR is the second largest telecoms operator in France behind Orange.
Altice said it did not intend to make a takeover bid for the British company, meaning that under the takeover code it cannot make an unsolicited buyout offer for six months without the approval of BT’s management, Financial Times reported.
Altice bought the shares this week through banks but only informed BT’s management on Wednesday that it had become the largest shareholder in the company. Germany’s Deutsche Telekom owns a 12 percent stake in BT.
Drahi believes BT is best placed to take advantage of the huge investment in upgrading Britain’s broadband networks to full-fibre that is not reflected in its share price.
“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,” said Drahi. “We support the management’s strategy to deliver on this opportunity.”