Reliance Industries strenuously denied media reports linking it with a potential takeover bid for UK-headquartered BT Group, with the India-based conglomerate slating the claims as speculative and baseless.

In a statement, the company outright rejected a news story first published in The Economic Times which claimed various options were under consideration including the purchase of a controlling share or the formation of a joint venture with BT fibre infrastructure arm Openreach.

Reliance Industries added it wished to “categorically deny any intent to bid” for BT.

“We expect greater diligence and verification of facts before publishing such articles.”

Speculation on a move for BT from the conglomorate followed reports the UK incumbent had shored up its defences against a potential takeover bid from shareholder Altice UK, a company owned by billionaire Patrick Drahi whose business interests also include French operator SFR.

Drahi publicly backed BT’s strategy at the time, stating the company provided a “sound environment for substantial long-term investment”. At no point has the executive or Altice UK indicated a full takeover attempt is forthcoming.

European push
The debunked report of a potential move by Reliance Industries was the latest linking the company, the parent of Indian operator Reliance Jio owner Jio Platforms, with a major move in the European telecoms sector.

Earlier this year the conglomerate was apparently interested in a bid for T-Mobile Netherlands before Deutsche Telekom and Tele2 Group agreed to sell the Dutch operator to a consortium of investors.