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MoneyFrance's Orange raises $616 million with sale of its BT stake

16:05  28 june  2019
16:05  28 june  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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French telecom giant Orange said it had sold its remaining 2.5% stake in BT , raising net proceeds of 486 million pounds ($ 616 million ) as the former state monopoly faces a battle for market share in France .

BT bought 41 million shares in the private placement of France Telecom’ s 248 million shares, a stake which was worth about “ Orange argues that it had no ‘strategic objective’ related to its BT stake and wished to sell out ahead of seasonally lower trading liquidity in the summer”, analysts at Jefferies said

France's Orange raises $616 million with sale of its BT stake © Reuters/Eric Gaillard The logo of telecom company Orange is seen at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

French telecom giant Orange said it had sold its remaining 2.5% stake in BT , raising net proceeds of 486 million pounds ($616 million) as the former state monopoly faces a battle for market share in France.

BT bought 41 million shares in the private placement of France Telecom's 248 million shares, a stake which was worth about 493 million pounds at Thursday's market price.

Shares in BT were 2% down at 0720 GMT on Friday, while Orange was almost unchanged following the Thursday placement, on which Citigroup Global Markets was the sole bookrunner.

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French telecom giant Orange said it had sold its remaining 2.5% stake in BT , raising net proceeds of 486 million pounds ($ 616 million ) as the former state monopoly faces a battle for market share in France .

BT bought 41 million shares in the private placement of France Telecom' s 248 million shares, a stake which was worth about 493 million pounds at Orange ' s disposal means it no longer has any exposure to BT and comes as BT undergoes a major restructuring under its new chief Philip Jansen.

Orange ended up with a 4% BT stake in 2014 when the British group bought mobile operator EE, a joint venture between the French company and Germany's Deutsche Telekom .

Deutsche Telekom is BT's largest shareholder with a stake of about 12%.

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France's Orange raises $616 million with sale of its BT stake

"Orange argues that it had no 'strategic objective' related to its BT stake and wished to sell out ahead of seasonally lower trading liquidity in the summer", analysts at Jefferies said in a note to investors, adding that Orange has never been interested in leveraging an equity position into a strategic partnership in the way that Deutsche Telekom attempted.

"We certainly do not believe that Orange has special insight into BT's prospects.. This feels like an Orange committee decision to tidy up holdings," Jefferies said.

Orange's disposal means it no longer has any exposure to BT and comes as BT undergoes a major restructuring under its new chief Philip Jansen.

This overhaul includes 13,000 job cuts and is aimed at tackling problems ranging from criticism of BT's fibre broadband to an underperforming IT services business.

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Southampton winger Sofiane Boufal could be on his way back to France, with Nice and Bordeaux both looking at a potential €10 million deal. Several Ligue 1 sides are chasing the winger, with Boufal looking likely to return to France after a difficult spell with Southampton. The Saints winger joined from Lille back in 2016, but has never really got going at St Mary’s. The Moroccan spent last season on loan at Celta Vigo, and is now likely to make his move away from Southampton permanent. According to Foot Mercato, Both Nice and Bordeaux are looking at a potential deal, with Marseille also in the hunt for the winger.

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