HomeFinancial/RegulationBillionaire Slim buys into BT recovery plan with 3% stake costing £400m

    Billionaire Slim buys into BT recovery plan with 3% stake costing £400m


    The deal was done via financial holding company Inbursa and its subsidiaries, which are owned by Mexico’s Carlos Slim and his family

    The Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim as invested #400 million in BT shares, which equates to a stake of about 3%. The transaction was carried out via a financial holding company, Inbursa, that Slim and his family own.

    Slim became and remained the world’s richest man through telecoms businesses, most notably building up and controlling  América Móvil, which has headquarters in Mexico and operates across Latin America.

    Other noteworthy investors include the beleaguered French tycoon Patrick Drahi, who controls the Altice Group Altice UK has held a 24.5% stake in BT since May 2023. Previously Slim acquired stakes in the Dutch telco KPN and Telekom Austria.

    Deutsche Telekom is the second largest shareholder after Altice, with a stake less than half the size. The German group’s CEO, Tim Hoettges, has publicly rued not selling off the stake after BT acquired EE in 2016. EE was created by merging Orange’s UK opco and DT’s British operation. Orange gradually divested itself of the stake while DT held on.

    Last year Hoettges was quoted describing the BT stake as the “biggest mistake” as in effect, his company paid £4 per share. They are now trading at about £1.33 – about a third of the effective purchase price eight years later.

    Such was Hoettges’ frustration that it sparked rumours of a reverse takeover by DT of BT: DT is the only European telecoms group to have broken the ceiling of €100 billion market cap

    BT’s new CEO, Allison Kirkby, appears to have inspired confidence in Slim at least. In May she set out her strategic plan for BT’s recovery which included slashing a further €3 billion from BT’s cost base over the next five years. The last £3 billion target, set by her predecessor Philip Jansen, was achieved ahead of schedule and BT Openreach is arguably past its peak investment in fibre buildout.