BT share price: Telco looks to offload Irish business

on Apr 25, 2019
Updated: Apr 28, 2020

BT Group (LON:BT.A) is mulling over bids for its Irish business, The Telegraph has reported. The potential disposal will come with the former telecoms monopoly looking to prune its Global Services division in the wake of the accounting scandal at its Italian business.

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Today’s session has seen the BT share price drift lower, with the stock having given up 0.95 percent to 223.10p as of 13:52 BST. The shares are underperforming the broader London market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.54 percent lower at 7,431.75 points.

BT weighs bids for Irish unit

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The Telegraph reported yesterday that BT was planning a retreat from Ireland with a £400-million auction of its business serving corporate clients in the country. The telco has reportedly invited bids for BT Ireland as part of a radical pruning of its Global Services international arm following the Italian accounting scandal. City sources told the newspaper that the sale of BT Ireland is being handled by advisers from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who are assessing first round bids submitted before Easter.

The Financial Times meanwhile noted, quoting people with direct knowledge of the situation, that BT had struggled to find a buyer for its Italian unit.

The news comes after it emerged earlier this week that a criminal investigation into the fraud inside the telco’s Italian business had  uncovered more evidence of the involvement of senior executives in artificially inflating the division’s financial performance.

Analyst ratings update

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Credit Suisse reaffirmed the blue-chip telco as ‘neutral’ today, without specifying a target on the BT share price. According to MarketBeat, the former telecoms monopoly currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 273.75p.

BT is scheduled to its preliminary results for the 2018/19 financial year on May 9.

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