Tuesday, May 28, 2024

New BT chief dusts off plan for sale of Irish corporate unit

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The new boss of BT Group is dusting off plans for a sale of its Irish corporate business four years after her predecessor called off a deal.

Sky News has learnt that the FTSE-100 telecoms giant is working with bankers at Citi on a potential disposal of the unit.

The review of its options is at an early stage and may not result in a transaction, sources said on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, it represents one of the first corporate actions being evaluated by Allison Kirkby, BT’s new chief executive.

BT Ireland is the main alternative fixed-line communications provider in the country with more than 650 employees.

The division serves business and wholesale customers, but does not sell to consumers.

It owns and operates a full-service, fixed telecom network and boasts a high-capacity fibre network with nationwide reach across Ireland.

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In 2019, BT reached a preliminary agreement to sell the business to Mayfair Equity Partners, a leading London-based investor.

The talks fell apart in the spring of 2020.

At the time, the unit was valued at between €300m and €400m.

It was unclear how much BT Ireland might fetch in a sale today.

In a statement following an enquiry from Sky News, a BT Group spokesperson said: “We continually review our operations to ensure they align with our global strategy.

“We have an excellent business in Ireland and no decisions have been taken.”

Shares in BT have fallen by more than a third over the last year, leaving it with a market value of £10.2bn.

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