BT Group has issued a statement confirming it has been notified that Altice UK – a company formed by Franco-Israeli businessman Patrick Drahi for the purpose of holding a stake in the British communications provider – has increased its interest in BT’s voting share capital from 12.1% to 18.0%. In response, BT said that its board and management will ‘continue to operate the business in the interest of all shareholders and remains focussed on the successful execution of its strategy and building on recent performance momentum’.
For its part, meanwhile, Altice UK issued its own market update on the transaction noting in it that it had restated its position to the telco’s board that it does not intend to make an offer for it. It will be bound by that statement under UK takeover rules, with this precluding Altice from launching a takeover bid for six months.
Mr Drahi was cited as saying: ‘We are pleased to take this opportunity to increase our shareholding in BT. Over recent months we have engaged constructively with the Board and Management of BT and look forward to continuing that dialogue. We continue to hold them in high regard and remain fully supportive of their strategy, principally to play the pivotal role in delivering the expansion of access to a full fibre broadband network; an investment programme which is so important to both BT and to the UK.’