Reliance Industries denies bid interest in BT About nine per cent of BT’s employees are from non-white backgrounds. (REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo)
SHARES in BT jumped nine per cent in London on Monday (29) before sliding back after India’s Reliance Industries denied a media report it was weighing a bid for the British telecoms group.
Citing sources, The Economic Times said billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance might make an unsolicited offer to buy into BT or try to get a controlling share.
It said Reliance could also partner with BT’s networks arm Openreach and fund its fibre expansion plans.
But Reliance dismissed the report in a stock exchange filing, saying: “We categorically deny any intent to bid for the UK telecoms group BT. The article is completely speculative and baseless.”
In early trading, BT’s shares had risen as much as 9 per cent but pared the gains to trade at 163.5p intra-day, still up around six per cent, following Reliance’s statement. Reliance was up 1.2 per cent at Rs 2,441 (£24.4) on Monday (29).
BT, whose shares have more than halved in the past five years, was already the subject of takeover speculation after Franco-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi bought a 12.1 per cent stake this year.
Drahi will be free to buy more of the British telecoms giant from December 11, having pledged in June he wouldn’t launch a takeover offer for the company – a statement that precluded him from doing so for six months under British takeover rules.
Earlier this year, a private equity consortium, comprising Warburg Pincus and Apax Partners, outbid Reliance to take over the Dutch division of the American wireless network operator T-Mobile.