UK will not take action over Drahi’s stake in BT


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LONDON — Billionaire Patrick Drahi will not be forced to cut his stake in BT Group after the British government ruled the investment did not pose any national security implications.

Franco-Israeli entrepreneur Drahi, BT’s biggest shareholder who has previously pursued debt-fueled deals to buy assets in France, the United States, Portugal and Israel, bought 12.1% of BT last year before increasing his holding to 18%.

The investment in the telecoms company behind the country’s critical fiber network drew a blunt response from Britain and the government said in May it would “call in” the deal to investigate any threat to national security.

“BT Group has now been notified by the secretary of state that no further action is to be taken,” the British firm said in a statement, referring to Drahi’s investment vehicle Altice.

The announcement of a government investigation had knocked BT’s shares on the day. The national security legislation came into force earlier this year, giving the government powers to scrutinize and, if necessary, intervene in acquisitions. (Reporting by Kate Holton, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)


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