REACTION: Billionaire Carlos Slim takes 3% stake in BT

REACTION: Billionaire Carlos Slim takes 3% stake in BT

BT new HQ May 2022.jpg

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has taken a 3.2% stake in BT Group, worth around £400 million.

Slim joins other high-profile investors in the company, including French billionaire and owner of Altice Patric Drahi, who holds around 24.5% and Deutsche Telekom, which owns 12%.

A BT statement welcomed the investment: "We welcome any investor who recognises the long-term value of our business.

“We have frequent communication with all of our shareholders and meet with major investors on a regular basis. We look forward to engaging with Inbursa, just as we do with all investors.”

A spokesperson for Slim’s Grupo Carso, meanwhile, said the move was a “financial investment like many the group makes”.

Slim has been labelled as the wealthiest man in Latin America, building his fortune from a 1990s concession for Mexico’s state telephone company. His companies account for one-fifth of the country’s benchmark stock index and have operations in Latin America and Europe.


Some analysts believe that the investment was a vote of confidence in BT’s chief executive Allison Kirkby, who is pursuing a much-publicised turnaround for the FTSE 100 company through a plan that was revealed last month.

Kester Mann, director of consumer at connectivity at CCS Insight reacted to the news on LinkedIn. He said: On the one hand, Slim’s move on BT could form a beachhead to building a stronger position in the company having recently reduced his interest in Dutch operator, KPN.

“Should that be the case, he may find a willing seller in Patrick Drahi. The French businessman owns 24.5% of BT’s stock but his Altice Group is saddled with huge debt.

“However, the move could just as likely prove little more than an opportunistic strategic investment aimed at capitalising on BT’s depressed share price and renewed optimism under Ms Kirkby.

Paolo Pescatore, TMT analyst and founder at PP Foresight believes the move “underlines the confidence in BT’s strategy, and growth plans under new CEO Allison Krikby’s stewardship”.

He wrote on LinkedIn: “Recently, we saw a positive and confident performance by Kirkby as she delivered her first FY results presentation for the company. Having only been at the helm for 106 days, she reinforced the group’s current strategic focus with what she calls a sharper focus to accelerate progress.

“In FY23 under previous CEO, Philip Jansen, the company outlined key strategic focus areas for targets towards FY28-FY30.

“Moving forward, EE (consumer) and Openreach are well positioned. It promises to be another year of transition for the enterprise segment. Lots of attention has been placed on streamlining operations, seeking partnerships, and offloading non-core assets. The unit needs to start driving revenue and quickly move existing customers from legacy architecture to its new IP-based solutions.

“Overall, we should expect to see BT ruthlessly focus on its overseas operations which are likely to be disposed of as part of a greater emphasis on UK growth opportunities.”

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