BT boss tells Gary Lineker: We're ready to "tilt" EU operations towards Asia or the US

Oliver Gill
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Gary Lineker quizzed BT chief executive Gavin Patterson (not pictured) on a range of topics (Source: Getty)

BT chief executive Gavin Patterson has admitted Britain's exit from the EU could force the firm to refocus on Asia or the US instead of mainland Europe.

During an interview with former England football legend Gary Lineker, the BT boss said the group was set up flexibly to respond to the challenges of Brexit.

He said: "We’re a business that operates in over 180 countries in the world, they're not all part of the EU obviously so we’re used to working with different regulatory regimes.

We may just tilt our business towards Asia/ Pacific or America if we find that Europe is not as productive.

The telecoms giant's overseas division, global services, has come under increasing scrutiny from investors after a £530m accounting blackhole in Italy was revealed in January.

Last week, BT announced 4,000 job cuts, a "significant chunk" of which would come from global services.

Read more: BT chops 4,000 jobs as it dials in the changes overseas


In March, BT fought off a challenge from Sky to secure European Champions League rights for the next three years. The firm paid £1.2bn, an increase of around a third on the previous auction.

Read more: BT TV head steps down after securing £1.2bn Champions League deal

Yesterday, Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao said the investment in football was not the best investment, saying "I’m not so sure the price is what you always get back".

But Liverpool fan Patterson told Lineker the BT investment in football TV rights was worth it.

"We knew sport really did move the dial and that is why we decided to go into it. We always thought there was room for two players in sport," said Patterson.

Watch Lineker's interview with Patterson for TM Lewin below:

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