French telecommunications group Altice has taken a 12.1% stake in BT Group’s issued share capital.

The company, founded and headed by the billionaire Patrick Drahi, has acquired 1.2bn shares in the British telecommunication firm.

BT Group had a £19.61bn (€22.8bn) market capitalisation in late afternoon trading as shares in London rose by 8% to 197.9p.

Altice, which made the investment via a newly created UK arm said it believes that the UK provides a sound environment for substantial long-term investment.

“This is supported by the current regulatory framework which offers BT the appropriate incentives to make the necessary investments.”

Altice UK has been established for the purpose of holding the shares in BT. It is separate from the other Altice companies but benefits from the experience across the group, the parent company said. Altice has built and developed networks in the US, France, Portugal and Israel.

BT is the largest provider of consumer mobile and fixed broadband communications services in the UK. BT also provides products and services in around 180 countries.

Altice said it does not intend to make a takeover offer for BT.

Drahi said: “BT has a significant opportunity to upgrade and extend its full-fibre broadband network to bring substantial benefits to millions of households across the UK. We fully support the management’s strategy to deliver on this opportunity.

“We understand that the expansion of the broadband network is one of the UK Government’s most important policy objectives and a core part of its levelling up agenda.”

In a separate statement, BT said: “We welcome all investors who recognize the long-term value of our business and the important role it plays in the UK. We are making good progress in delivering our strategy and plan.”

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