French telecoms firm Orange today said it has raised £486m from the sale of its remaining 2.5 per cent stake in BT.
Read more: BT in talks with ITV over Britbox investment
BT snapped up roughly 41m of Orange’s 248m shares, which were put up for sale last night in a private placement.
Shares in BT dropped as much as two per cent following the announcement, while Orange shares ticked up marginally.
The sale marks Orange’s total withdrawal from BT. The French firm acquired a four per cent stake in BT when the British firm snapped up EE, a joint venture between Orange and Deutsche Telekom, in 2014.
“Orange argues that it had no ‘strategic objective’ related to its BT stake and wished to sell out ahead of seasonally lower trading liquidity in the summer,” wrote analysts at Jeffries.
“We certainly do not believe that Orange has special insight into BT’s prospects. This feels like an Orange committee decision to tidy up holdings.”
The sale comes amid a large turnaround plan at BT, which is set to cut 13,000 jobs and close offices in more than 270 locations across the UK.
Read more: BT to close 90 per cent of its UK offices
New boss Philip Jansen has also unveiled BT’s new logo as he looks to restore the company’s status as a “national champion”.