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BT jumps 9 pct after reported interest from billionaire Ambani’s Reliance

Published: Updated:

Shares in BT jumped as much as 9 percent on Monday after India’s Economic Times said Reliance Industries was weighing a bid for the British telecoms group.

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance might make an unsolicited offer to buy into BT or try to get a controlling share, the report said, citing sources familiar with the matter.

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It could also partner with BT’s networks arm Openreach and fund its fiber expansion plans, it added.

Reliance and BT declined to comment.

After rising as much as 9 percent, shares in BT were trading up 8 percent at 166.35 pence at 0842 GMT, valuing the company at 16.5 billion pounds ($22 billion). Reliance was up 2.2 percent at 2,465 rupees.

The British company, whose shares have more than halved in the last five years, was already the subject of takeover speculation after Franco-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi bought a 12.1 percent stake this year.

Drahi will be free to buy more of the British telecoms giant on Dec. 11, having pledged in June he wouldn’t launch a takeover offer for the company -- a statement that precluded him from doing so for six months under British takeover rules.

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