Thursday 10 June 2021 7:47 am

Altice UK takes 12.1 percent stake in BT but 'does not intend' takeover

A French telecoms giant has taken a significant stake in BT ahead of the expansion of the UK’s full-fibre network. 

Altice UK this morning announced it had taken a 12.31 stake in BT becoming its larget shareholder. 

Despite the sizable equity stake Altice said it had no intention to make a takeover bid, and instead noted the “compelling opportunity” to invest amid the full-fibre rollout. 

The British telecoms giant last month committed to extending the full-fibre broadband network to 25m premises by the end of 2026. 

“Altice believes that the UK provides a sound environment for substantial long-term investment. This is supported by the current regulatory framework which offers BT the appropriate incentives to make the necessary investments,” it said today. 

Altice UK is a company established and wholly-owned by billionaire Patrick Drahi for the purposes of holding a stake in BT. 

Drahi, who bought Sothetby’s in 2019, founded Altice in 2001 and the company operates across the US, France, Portugal and Israel. 

“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,” Drahi said. “Our approach is to combine high levels of technical expertise, resilience and operating efficiency with a strong focus on innovation and customer service.” 

BT welcomed this morning’s announcement and Altice’s statement of support for management and its 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,” the company said.