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Blog Detail

Reliance Industries bids for UK telco BT Group

Nov 29, 2021


Asias richest man Mukesh Ambani has set his eyes on Britain to expand Jios telecom footprint. Reliance Industries is bidding for UK telecom group, BT, formerly British Telecom, according to several people familiar with the matter.This comes just two months after the PE consortium of Bharosa Apex Partners and Warburg Pincus sold T-Mobiles Dutch unit for €5.1 billion (Rs 43,329 crore as of the current conversion rate). Nonetheless, the unexpected bid for the Dutch telecom unit indicated Ambanis global telecom aspirations. Ambani is also moving between Mumbai and London, after buying the iconic Stoke Park for £57 million With multiple shareholders in the mix - some 419 institutions own shares in the company - and with a few strategic investors said to be ready to capitalize on it if the right offer is provided, the sources cited above believe. —that Reliance will make an unsolicited offer to buy. A claim to acquire the company or even a controlling share.

BT is the current UK operator for fixed-line telecom services. It has, over the years, added fiber broadband, IP TV, television and sports broadcasting, and mobile services to its offerings, which are now offered to over 170 countries worldwide. However, it has long been ridiculed for maintaining its government-like bureaucratic structures since the 1980s when it was privatized. The company has experienced turmoil in the boardroom. Its stock has fallen 53% in five years, touching an 11-year low in 2020-21. BT declined to comment, describing it as speculation. However, when asked specifically whether BT is ready to engage a strategic or financial partner for its fiber arm Openreach, a company spokesperson told ET, “Openreach is a major, long-term, strategic partnership for BT. The property remains in place and is performing very well. While we are always open to value creation options for BT, we are currently focused on building fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) at speed, scale, and low cost. Mail sent to Reliance on Saturday did not elicit any response till the press time of Sunday.

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