French operator Orange is free to sell its 4% stake in BT
after the expiry of an agreement preventing a sale during the
first year of the British incumbent’s ownership of
Orange had owned a 50% stake in EE along with Deutsche
Telekom, but sold the UK’s largest mobile operator
to BT in a £12.5 billion deal last year.
As part of the sale, Deutsche Telekom took a 12% stake in
BT, while Orange took a smaller 5% stake but a higher cash
Part of the agreement meant Orange was prevented from
selling its stake within 12 months of the sale, which was
completed on 29 January 2016, meaning the French firm can now
offload its shares.
Those shares have seen a significant decline in value since
the EE sale, driven by the falling value of the pound in the
aftermath of June’s European Referendum, and
problems arising from BT’s Italian arm.
The problems in Italy stems from an overstating of earnings,
and led BT shares to drop 21%, meaning Orange’s
stake, initially worth an estimated £1.7 billion, has
fallen around 27% in value overall.
Deutsche has also been liked with possibly selling its stake
following the UK Brexit vote, however the German operator is
also rumoured to be considering a takeover of the UK giant.
Deutsche agreed to an 18-month lockdown when the takeover was
agreed, meaning it cannot sell for another six months at
least.Read on: GlobalTelecomsBusiness