BT boss floats possible sale of Openreach business

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BT Group PLC‘s (LON:BT.A) boss Philip Jansen has said he is “open minded” about a potential sale of the company’s stake in its broadband business Openreach, but only once the telecoms firm receives more clarity on the regulatory framework for fibre internet.


The CEO of the FTSE 100 firm was reported as saying there was “potentially” room to consider selling a minority stake in the business. The comments were made at a technology, media and telecom conference on Thursday hosted by Morgan Stanley.


READ: BT’s Openreach hails Ofcom report on strategic independence of broadband business


Jansen’s comments came as UK communications regulator Ofcom considers exactly how much return BT will be allowed to receive from a GBP12bn fibre-to-the-premises” buildout, with a decision expected in March or April next year.


However, the CEO also said that he feels BT is “undervalued” as a business and for the assets its holds, which may mean the company will not be willing to part with Openreach in its entirety.


While BT effectively bankrolls Openreach, the division is strictly independent with its own board and is also heavily regulated


Hansen’s opinion may have been lent credence by the fact that BT’s shares are currently down 32% on their year-ago price and close to a five-year low. The fall in the shares has led to chatter that BT itself could be a takeover target.


In mid-afternoon trading on Friday, BT shares were down 2.8% at 124.4p.

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