Reliance mulls bid for controlling stake in British Telecom

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The ET report quoting unnamed sources said the deliberations are early stage and may not occur eventually. It remains unclear if Ambani has met the top management of BT, CEO Philip Jansen and outgoing chairman Jan du Plessis…reports Asian Lite News.

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is mulling a potential bid for the UK-based telecommunications giant British Telecom (BT), is an indication of Mukesh Ambani’s plans to take Jio global. Out of 419 institutional investors in the UK company, some may cash out for the right offer.

RIL is expected to make an unsolicited offer to buy a stake into the company or even stake a claim for a controlling share in the company, according to an Economic Times report.  

RIL may alternatively propose to partner with BT’s optic arm Openreach and fund its expansion plans. BT, however, earlier said it was junking plans to get a financial or strategic joint venture partner. It said the company would fund its expansion plans itself. The market capitalisation of the FTSE 100 company was $20.63 billion as of November 26. If RIL plans to go through with the deal, it would be the biggest such outbound mergers & acquisitions deal by an Indian company.

The ET report quoting unnamed sources said the deliberations are early stage and may not occur eventually. It remains unclear if Ambani has met the top management of BT, CEO Philip Jansen and outgoing chairman Jan du Plessis.

The development comes close on the heels of Ambani’s conglomerate being outbid by a PE consortium comprising Apax Partners and Warburg Pincus which scooped up T-Mobile’s Dutch unit for Rs 43,329 crore. The bid was indicative of RIL’s global telecom aspirations. The billionaire has been shunting between Mumbai and London where he recently bought the iconic Stoke Park estate for £57 million.

BT is one of the UK’s biggest telecommunications and network providers. It has a presence in 180 countries and is the incumbent operator of fixed-line telecom services in the UK. It also offers fibre broadband, IP TV, television and sports broadcasting and mobile services.

Analysts accuse the company of holding on to its bureaucratic legacy since the 1980s when it was privatised. The company’s stock has fallen 53% in 5 years, touching an 11-year low in 2020-21.

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