BT fears becoming takeover target as market cap hit ten-year low

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Now valued at just over £10 billion, the former UK incumbent is preparing to see off any hostile bids.

The group is not known to have been subject to any such bids but BT Group’s board is strenghtening its defences should any takeover bids arise according to Sky News.

BT suffered worse than most operators from Covid-19 disruption and has suspended dividends.

BT has allegedly asked bankers at Goldman Sachs to update its bid defence strategy.

Robey Warshaw, which is led by two of the City's leading investment bankers and is a long-standing adviser to Vodafone, could also be asked for input.

Politically tricky

Whether or not the UK government would allow BT to be taken over remains to be seen. The pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of the national communications infrastructure socially and economically, and any takeover bid would be particularly keen to acquire Openreach, the wholesale access unit.

Further, BT has pledged to invest £12 billion to roll out superfast fibre broadband to 20 million premises across the UK later in this decade and is trying to thrash out a favourable deal with government for a share of a further £5 billion of state funding.

Through its EE mobile arm, it is also in the throes of rolling out 5G.

There are also considerable jitters in telecoms given the global furore about Huawei and the dangers of putting control of infrastructure into the “wrong hands”.