British fixed line incumbent BT has reportedly begun talks with interested parties over a possible sale of a stake in its network unit, Openreach. According to The Financial Times, which cites three unnamed sources with knowledge of the discussions, talks are said to be at an early stage, while the mechanism by which any investor would acquire a holding in Openreach is also said to be under consideration. Potential buyers are reported to include Australia’s Macquarie Group and an unidentified sovereign wealth fund, although Reuters separately cited sources close to the Australian fund as saying it had not expressed interest Openreach and was not in talks with its management.
It has been suggested that the sale of a stake in Openreach could help generate funding for BT’s planned rollout of fibre to homes and businesses across the UK, which is expected to cost it around GBP12 billion (USD14.7 billion). As previously reported by CommsUpdate, earlier this month the operator announced plans for a ‘rapid acceleration’ of its ongoing fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) rollout, saying it now aims to pass 20 million premises with the technology by ‘the mid- to late-2020s’.