Altice UK, a company fully owned by Patrick Drahi, has announced the acquisition of an additional 650,000,000 shares in BT, raising its ownership to 24.5 percent of BT's issued share capital. This development, disclosed in an exchange filing, comes as Altice UK continues to increase its stake in BT, with a strategic move that solidifies its position as the largest shareholder in the company.
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Gradual Accumulation of BT Shares
Altice UK has been steadily purchasing BT shares over the past few years. In 2021, the company invested Euros 2 billion (USD 2.47 billion) to acquire a 12.1 percent stake in BT. Later that year, Altice UK added another 5.9 percent of shares, bringing its total ownership to 18 percent, making it the largest shareholder in BT.
Altice UK has restated its position to the Board of BT, emphasizing that it has no intention to make an offer for BT. This commitment is in accordance with Rule 2.8 of the UK's Takeover Code, which governs such matters. Altice UK confirms that it remains bound by this statement, solidifying its position as a significant stakeholder in BT without seeking to acquire the company outright.
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Altice UK Expands Stake
Altice UK, under Patrick Drahi's leadership, has increased its stake in BT from 18 percent to 24.5 percent. Drahi's Altice group already controls SFR, the second-largest telecoms company in France, and possesses assets in the United States, Portugal, and Israel. The strategic move to expand the stake in BT aligns with Altice UK's broader telecommunications portfolio.
BT's 5G Network
BT, the telecommunications company in focus, has reported growth in its 5G connections. Currently, BT boasts 8.6 million 5G connections, marking a significant 62 percent increase compared to the previous year. BT's 5G network now covers approximately 68 percent of the population of the country.
Also Read: Openreach Expands Full Fibre Broadband Network to Falkirk and Luton
In its results for the full year ending March 31, 2023, BT Group expressed optimism about its performance and growth prospects. Openreach, a division of BT responsible for network infrastructure, continues to compete strongly and reaffirms its target of connecting 25 million premises with full-fibre FTTP (Fiber to the Premises) by the end of 2026.
BT Group has outlined its plan to optimize its labour resources, targeting a reduction from 130,000 to 75,000-90,000 by fiscal years 2028 to 2030. This reduction encompasses both directly employed BT employees and non-employees sourced from third-party providers. The move aims to streamline operations and enhance efficiency within the organization.