France’s Orange is set to sell its remaining 2.5-percent stake in BT Group (LON:BT.A), the FTSE 100 company has said, noting that it intends to buy back the shares. The French group acquired the stake when the former British telecoms monopoly bought mobile operator EE, then a joint venture between Orange and Deutsche Telekom.
BT’s share price rose in the previous session, gaining 0.77 percent to close at 198.74p. The stock outperformed the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index giving up 14.06 points to close 0.19 percent lower at 7,402.33. This morning, the telco’s shares have fallen deep into the red, having given up 1.70 percent to 195.36p as of 08:19 BST, compared with a 0.14-percent gain in the Footsie.
BT to buy Orange’s stake
BT announced in a statement yesterday that Orange had said that it was planning to offer about 248 million shares in the FTSE 100 group to institutional investors by means of an accelerated bookbuild offering, with the offer representing about 2.5-percent of BT’s issued share capital. Following the offer, the French company will no longer will be a shareholder in the FTSE 100 group.
BT said that it had committed to participate in the offering and had placed an order to repurchase shares up to a maximum total value of £80 million. The former telecoms monopoly is planning to hold the shares acquired in the repurchase in treasury.
The repurchase is expected to settle on July 2.
Analyst ratings update
According to MarketBeat, the former telecoms monopoly currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating, while the average target on the BT share price stands at 268.33p.
Earlier this week, Deutsche Bank turned bearish on the company, commenting that the blue-chip telco was ‘one of the least attractive’ stocks in the European telecoms industry.