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Shares of BT Group Rose to a 17-month High

Altice UK made an announcement that helped to boost the shares of Britain’s broadband and mobile operator BT Group. Billionaire Patrick Drahi bought a 12.1% stake worth about 2.2 billion pounds ($3.1 billion) in BT Group. The stake makes Altice BT’s largest shareholder, as the former largest shareholder Deutsche Telekom owns 12.06%.

The British multinational telecommunications company noted Altice’s statement of support for its management and strategy. The company said it welcomed all investors who recognized the long-term value of its business and the important role it plays in the country.

Drahi’s newly-created vehicle Altice UK made that announcement on Thursday which drove BT’s shares to a 17-month high.

Altice UK is owned by Next Alt, dealmaker Patrick Drahi’s private holding, which also controls SFR, the second-largest telecoms operator in France.

BT Group is recasting itself as the British national champion to upgrade the country’s broadband network. The company plans to extend fiber broadband to 25 million homes as well as businesses by 2026. BT is also looking for a partner to help fund the work. The company is considering selling a stake in its sports TV operation.

 

BT Group, Patrick Drahi, and his career

Patrick Drahi bought cable company Numericable in the early 2000s and later acquired SFR from Vivendi. Drahi recently took SFR’s parent company Altice Europe private in a buyout. He also controls France’s most-watched news channel called BFM TV. Drahi owns the largest telecoms firm in Portugal as well. Moreover, he owns the second largest operators in both Israel and the Dominican Republic.

Drahi suffered a fall from grace several years ago, when Altice Europe’s shares dropped after a report signaled it would not grow in France, fuelling fears that his group wouldn’t be able to pay its huge debts. Billionaire Patrick Drahi responded to investor concerns by ousting the chief executive and spinning off Altice’s U.S. firm.

The money which Drahi’s company invested in BT Group, is a signal of confidence in BT’s strategy. Patrick Drahi stated that BT has a significant opportunity to upgrade and extend its full-fiber broadband network. Altice UK does not plan to make a takeover offer for BT for six months by virtue of its statement.

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