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Altice takes 12% stake in BT, no takeover offer plans By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An advertising board is seen during the first demonstration of the technology 5G in Lisbon, Portugal June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante/File Photo

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(Reuters) – Patrick Drahi’s Altice Group said on Thursday that it had taken a 12.1% stake in Britain’s BT Group (LON:) becoming its largest shareholder.

“Altice holds the Board and Management team of BT in high regard and is supportive of their strategy,” Altice UK, a company formed for the purpose of holding the BT stake, said in a statement.

“Altice UK has informed the BT Board that it does not intend to make a takeover offer for BT.”

The stake was worth about 2.2 billion pounds based on BT’s closing price on Wednesday.

Britain’s biggest broadband and mobile operator has set out plans to extend fibre broadband to 25 million homes and businesses by 2026, and it is seeking a partner to help fund the work.

It is also considering selling a stake in its sports TV operation.

BT said it noted Altice’s announcement and its statement of support for its management and strategy.

“We welcome all investors who recognise the long-term value of our business and the important role it plays in the UK,” BT said.

“We are making good progress in delivering our strategy and plan.”

Altice’s SFR is the second largest telecoms operator in France behind Orange.

Drahi, the billionaire founder of the group, recently took it private with a buyout offer.

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