BT will look at potential joint ventures with Deutsche Telekom once the German incumbent becomes its largest shareholder following the closure of the EE acquisition, according to a Financial Times interview with BT chairman Sir Mike Rake.
The UK company is in the process of acquiring EE, the UK’s largest mobile operator, for £12.5 billion, a deal that is set to close during the first quarter of 2016. Following the acquisition, EE shareholder Deutsche Telekom will retain a 12 per cent stake in BT.
There has also been speculation that Deutsche Telekom might be mulling a bid for the whole of BT. When quizzed, Sir Mike (pictured) shrugged: “We live in a global world and the UK is one of the most open economies in the world. But who knows?”.
“There is no golden share and we will do the right thing by our shareholders. There is a three-year standstill. We will get on with integrating EE,” he said.
The BT chairman did not indicate what kind of joint ventures might be possible with Deutsche Telekom.
On the subject of integration, he said BT will endeavour to “keep as much top level management as we can” from EE.
However, EE announced last week that current CEO Olaf Swantee will be stepping down after completion of the takeover.
The EE brand will be retained by BT following the deal, according to a separate FT report last week. The EE name is now well established in the collective consciousness thanks to a widespread advertising campaign featuring actor Kevin Bacon. The brand is also associated with several high profile events, including the Bafta film awards.
EE will be run separately from the consumer group that operates BT’s existing mobile service called BT Mobile, which has been supported by a recent advertising campaign of its own featuring actor Willem Dafoe. BT Mobile is a much smaller player than EE, claiming around 250,000 subscribers, while EE’s 4G base alone stands at 13 million.