Indian giant Reliance denies reports of takeover bid for BT

·1 min read

India’s Reliance has poured cold water on reports it is plotting a takeover of UK telecoms giant BT.

Shares in BT Group shot about 9% higher after The Economic Times first reported on Monday morning that billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s firm Reliance could make a takeover bid.

Reports suggested Mr Ambani was considering an unsolicited offer to buy the business or to buy a controlling stake.

However, shares eased back slightly after the Mumbai-based conglomerate said in a statement that it does not intend to make a bid.

Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries (Lewis Whyld/PA)
Mukesh Ambani is the chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries (Lewis Whyld/PA)

“We categorically deny any intent to bid for the UK telecoms group, BT, formerly British Telecom,” Reliance said.

“The article is completely speculative and baseless.

“We expect greater diligence and verification of facts before publishing such articles.”

BT declined to comment on the reports.

It comes after speculation that rival telecoms billionaire, Patrick Drahi, who purchased a 12% stake in BT last year, could make a move to take majority control of the business.

BT has seen its share value cut in half over the past five years.

Mr Drahi pledged in June that he would not make an offer to buy BT, although he will be able to reconsider if he wants to make a bid from December 11, in accordance with UK takeover rules.

Shares in BT were 5.5% higher at 162.5p at Midday on Monday.

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