French telecom Altice became BT’s largest shareholder after buying a 12.1% stake in the company.
Altice says it does not intend to make a takeover bid on BT and believes there is a “compelling opportunity” in deploying all-fiber infrastructure in the UK.
BT recently increased its fiber optic deployment target to five million premises and now hopes to reach 25 million homes and businesses by December 2026.
This ambition, coupled with government support and a favorable regulatory environment, means Altice sees the UK as a healthy environment for long-term investment. The French company highlighted its support for BT’s current board, management and strategy.
“BT Group takes note of Altice’s announcement of its investment in BT and its statement of support for our management and strategy,” BT said in a statement. “We welcome all investors who recognize the long-term value of our business and the important role it plays in the UK. We are making good progress in implementing our strategy and plan. “
Altice was founded by Patrick Drahi in 2001 and has since become the second largest telecom operator in France thanks to the acquisitions of several regional cable operators and the mobile operator SFR. It also has a significant presence in Israel, Portugal and the Dominican Republic.
“We understand that expanding the broadband network is one of the UK government’s most important policy goals and a central part of its upgrade program,” Drahi said.
“Altice has a long and very successful track record of efficiently operating national fiber and mobile networks in a number of countries, serving over 40 million customers.
“Our approach is to combine high levels of technical expertise, resilience and operational efficiency with a strong focus on innovation and customer service. Altice has brought an entrepreneurial culture, energy and efficiency to building its networks and operations. “
BT’s next shareholder is Deutsche Telekom, which acquired a 12% stake in EE’s £ 12.6 billion sale in 2016. Altice’s rival Orange, which was also a partner of the EE joint venture, has since sold its stake in BT. .