BT takeover talk stoked as Deutsche Telekom boss says he expects movement


BT Group PLC (LSE:BT.A) ran into renewed takeover talk today as the boss of Deutsche Telekom, its joint largest shareholder, said it was expecting something to happen with its stake.

In a briefing meeting with analysts, Tim Hoettges said: “In the next 12 months something is going to happen there around this asset because the shareholder side is changing rapidly.”

DT owns 12% of the UK telecoms giant through its pension fund, but French billionaire Patrick Drahi recently acquired a 12.1% through his Altice vehicle and this “new player” has changed the dynamic, said Hoettges.

“It’s too early to make a decision.

“We are entertaining all options. We have a lot of optionalities now on the table in the BT business. We will do something which is a good deal.”

“And I’m listening. We are today in a listening mode, we are not in an acting mode.”

Altice acquired its stake in June and at the time said it did not intend to bid for control of BT

It “holds the board and management team of BT in high regard and is supportive of their strategy”, according to a statement.

Analysts, though, suggested that the French group’s attitude going forward will likely be shaped by how broadband arm Openreach develops.

“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,” said Drahi in June.

BT shares rose 0.6% to 165.7p.


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