Media & Telecom

BT trims gains after India's Reliance denies bid interest

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British Telecom (BT)'s headquarters is seen in central London, Britain May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

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LONDON, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Shares in BT (BT.L) jumped as much as 9% on Monday before sliding back, after India's Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) denied a media report it was weighing a bid for the British telecoms group.

The Economic Times said billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance might make an unsolicited offer to buy into BT or try to get a controlling share, citing sources familiar with the matter.

It said Reliance could also partner with BT's networks arm Openreach and fund its fibre expansion plans. read more

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But Reliance dismissed the report in a stock exchange filing, saying: "We categorically deny any intent to bid for the UK telecoms group BT. The article is completely speculative and baseless."

In earlier trading, BT's shares had risen as much as 9%. They were up 5.7% at 1027 GMT, following Reliance's statement. Reliance was up 1.2% at 2,441 rupees.

The British company, whose shares have more than halved in the last five years, was already the subject of takeover speculation after Franco-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi bought a 12.1% stake this year.

Drahi will be free to buy more of the British telecoms giant on Dec. 11, having pledged in June he wouldn't launch a takeover offer for the company - a statement that precluded him from doing so for six months under British takeover rules. read more

($1 = 0.7500 pounds)

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Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Kate Holton and Edmund Blair

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