RIL 'categorically' denies any intent to bid for the UK telecoms group BT

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Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries on Monday refuted a news report on the oil-to-telecom conglomerate weighing a bid for the British telecoms group BT.

"We categorically deny any intent to bid for the UK telecoms group, BT, formerly British Telecom, as reported in the article titled “Reliance Mulling Bid for UK’s Telco BT Group” published in The Economic Times dated November 29, 2021. The article is completely speculative and baseless. We expect greater diligence and verification of facts before publishing such articles," said RIL in a stock exchange filing.

Shares in BT jumped as much as 9% on Monday on the back of the news report.

Reliance might make an unsolicited offer to buy into BT or try to get a controlling share, the report said, citing sources familiar with the matter.

It could also partner with BT's networks arm Openreach and fund its fibre expansion plans, it added.

After rising as much as 9%, shares in BT were trading up 8% at 166.35 pence at 0842 GMT, valuing the company at 16.5 billion pounds ($22 billion). Reliance was up 1% at Rs 2,437.

The British company, whose shares have more than halved in the last five years, was already the subject of takeover speculation after Franco-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi bought a 12.1% stake this year.
Drahi will be free to buy more of the British telecoms giant on Dec. 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.

($1 = 0.7500 pounds)



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