TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Saturday, May 18, 2024

Billionaire’s stake in BT faces security probe

Billionaire’s stake in BT faces security probe

The government is to examine French billionaire Patrick Drahi's increased stake in BT over national security concerns, the telecoms giant has said.

Mr Drahi's company, Altice, increased its investment from 12% to 18% in December, prompting speculation the firm could face a takeover bid.

The Business Secretary will now probe the move using new powers under the National Security and Investment Act.

BT said it would co-operate with the review.

In a statement, BT said that business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng was exercising his "call-in power" under the National Security and Investment Act 2021.

The new legislation came into force earlier this year, giving the government powers to scrutinise, impose conditions on, or block acquisitions on national security grounds.

BT is in the middle of a transformational programme to build a national broadband fibre network, a strategy crucial both to the company and the government, which says it wants to boost regional growth.

Shares in BT fell 4% in morning trading in London.

Mr Drahi, who also owns auction house Sotheby's, first began buying BT shares last June. His purchase of just over 12% of the company, worth £2.2bn at the time, made him the largest shareholder.

He now owns 18% of BT - 12% short of 30% at which point the takeover rules would force him to make an offer for the whole company.

Mr Drahi's stake-building in BT sparked rumours about other possible bidders.


Timing 'no surprise'


When news emerged of Mr Drahi's increased stake in December, Altice said it did "not intend to make an offer for BT".

Under British takeover rules, that barred Mr Drahi from making such a move for six months.

Karen Egan, a telecoms analyst at Enders Analysis, says that explains the timing of this probe.

"That was December, and we're now almost in June, so it's no surprise we're seeing this now," Ms Egan said.

She said that the government was attempting to "get ahead of the situation" and send a message to Mr Drahi "not to assume" that a bid would be allowed.

"The new bill is designed to protect assets exactly like BT," she said.

"The government is quite sensitive over this, primarily on security grounds. It's very unlikely that they'd be happy with Mr Drahi taking over BT."


Who is Patrick Drahi?


* Born in Morocco to a Jewish family in 1963

* French, Israeli and Portuguese citizenship

* Based in Switzerland

* Founded Altice, a French multinational telecoms group

* Owns Sotheby's auction house

* Worth $6.7bn (£5.3bn), and is one of the world's top 400 billionaires, according to Forbes

Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×