BT: Patrick Drahi, a billionaire in BT, increases stake to 18%

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Patrick Drahi is a multi-billionaire who has increased his investment in BT to counter growing speculations that the telecoms company could be under threat of being taken over.

An Israeli-French businessman purchased his share from 12% to 16%, prompting a government intervention.

Altice said that although it didn’t intend to bid full price, circumstances could force Altice to reconsider.

Rumours of potential bidders for Mr Drahi’s stake in BT were sparked by Drahi’s involvement with the building of BT shares.

In June, the businessman who owns Sotheby’s auction house, began purchasing BT shares.

Altice stated in a statement that Altice had engaged constructively over the past months with BT’s board and management and he looks forward to continuing this dialogue.

We continue to respect them and support their strategy. Our primary goal is to be the key to delivering full fibre broadband access. This investment program is vital to both BT as well the UK.

But, the government was prompted to warn that it might intervene if necessary. Ministers were concerned that any pressure to BT to lower costs could impact ongoing broadband rollout.

According to a spokesperson, the government has taken note of Altice’s latest acquisition of BT shares. This situation is under close observation.

“The government is determined to bring about a level of development in the country by digital infrastructure and will act swiftly if necessary to safeguard our vital national telecoms infrastructure.”

BT stated that it had received notification of the acquisition and said it would continue to “operate the business in all shareholder’s interests and is focused on the execution of its strategy, and continuing to build on current performance momentum.”


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