Drahi takes BT biggest shareholder stake close to 25pc

Altice, the largest shareholder of BT Group PLC (LSE: BT.A), led by billionaire Patrick Drahi, has raised its stake by acquiring an additional 650 million shares.

With this, Altice now owns roughly 24.5% of the UK telecom company, though it has reiterated that it has no intention of making a takeover bid.

Drahi initially purchased a 12.1% stake in June 2021, attracted by the prospects of the nationwide launch of next-generation broadband. Later that year, he raised this share to 18%. Drahi, the founder and current chairman of Altice since 2001, expressed that the investment reflected his confidence in BT, considering the UK government’s ambition to proliferate full-fibre, gigabit-speed broadband throughout the country.

In August 2022, the UK government concluded that this investment did not pose a risk to national security.

However, BT’s shares experienced a substantial drop last week following the company’s announcement of a substantial workforce reduction plan. The company intends to eliminate between 40,000 and 55,000 jobs, equating to up to 42% of its workforce, by the end of the decade to streamline operations and create a more sustainable future.

This job-cut strategy, involving both BT employees and third-party contractors, is scheduled to be implemented between 2028 and 2030.

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