Indian billionaire denies interest in BT buyout – .

Indian billionaire denies interest in BT buyout – .

India’s richest man was forced to deny he was making a bid on BT after shares in the former state-owned telecommunications monopoly rose amid speculation over a takeover between international billionaires.

Reliance Industries of Mukesh Ambani said a report in India’s Economic Times was “speculative and baseless”, dampening a rally that pushed stocks up to a tenth Monday morning.

Reliance was considering whether to buy BT, take a controlling stake, or help finance the full fiber deployment of BT’s broadband network operator, Openreach.

A spokesperson for Reliance “categorically denied any intention to bid for the British telecommunications group.”

A tilt could have plunged India’s largest conglomerate that spans energy, telecommunications, online retail and digital services into a potential bidding war with Patrick Drahi, BT’s largest shareholder, who according to rumors, would prepare an approach to takeover the telecommunications operator.

Mr. Drahi founded the French broadband challenger Altice and has a reputation for being an aggressive cost cutter.

It became BT’s biggest investor in June after taking a 12 percent stake. A lock-up preventing Mr. Drahi from buying more shares or making a take-over bid expires on December 11.

A separate Mail on Sunday report claimed that a number of buyout firms and infrastructure funds, including CVC, Apax, Brookfield and Macquarie, had completed a new analysis of Openreach that valued the company at $ 40 billion. of pounds sterling.

BT chose earlier this month not to bring in an outside investor to bolster its ultra-fast broadband upgrade after the cost of upgrading its aging copper network fell 5% to range between £ 250 and £ 350 per site.

BT’s plan to upgrade 25 million homes and businesses to full fiber by 2026 is now only being implemented by Openreach.

Shares closed up 6.1pc at 163.4p, making it the biggest gain in the FTSE 100 and valuing the company at £ 16.2 billion.


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