French-Israeli businessman Patrick Drahi has increased his stake in British telecommunications giant British Telecom (BT) Group plc (LSE: BT) from 18% to 24.5%. The deal was struck by Drahi’s company, Altice UK, which would have purchased 650 million shares for £147.85 per share for a total purchase of £960 million.
Patrick Drahi is the majority shareholder of Altice, which is the parent company of Israeli telecom company Hot Telecommunications. Besides Israel, Altice, which is considered one of the world’s leading telecommunications groups, also has significant operations in France, Portugal, the United States and other countries. Altice bought a 12% stake in BT in 2021, increasing its stake to 18% last year.
Drahi reiterated that he has no intention of trying to take control of BT and intends to cooperate with the company, expressing high regard for the current management of the company. Earlier this month BT announced a restructuring programme, which will see it cut 55,000 jobs by 2030
It remains to be seen whether Drahi is pursuing the same strategy with BT as with Hot. He first entered the Israeli market by buying a small stake in Hot from Bank Leumi, then began to gradually increase his holdings until he finally took control of the company.
BT is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world and some market sources believe it is only a matter of time before it increases its stake in the company further.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – May 23, 2023.
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