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Britain won’t intervene on BT shares buy
Pic: Shutterstock

23 Aug 2022 / business Print

Britain won’t intervene on BT shares buy

The British government has decided not to take any further action on a French billionaire’s acquisition of a stake in telecoms group BT.

Patrick Drahi's company, Altice, bought more shares in BT in December last year, bringing its stake from 12% to 18%, and triggering speculation about a takeover bid.

In May, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng decided to ‘call in’ the move for a full national-security assessment under the National Security and Investment Act 2021.

This legislation gives the British government the power to scrutinise and, if necessary, intervene in certain business deals on national-security grounds.

‘Case-by-case’ basis

In a brief statement this morning (23 August), Kwarteng said that, after “careful consideration”, the government would take no further action on the purchase of the shares.

He pointed out, however, that acquisitions were assessed on a case-by-case basis, meaning that any future transaction could be subject to a separate assessment under the legislation.

In Ireland, the Government recently published the Screening of Third Country Transactions Bill 2022, introducing the State’s first investment-screening regime for foreign direct investment.

This will give the Government the power to assess, investigate, authorise, condition, prohibit or unwind foreign investments from outside the EU, based on a range of security and public-order criteria.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland