Former BT boss Gavin Patterson defends controversial French investor Patrick Drahi amid fears over what he plans for the telecoms group
Former BT boss Gavin Patterson has defended controversial French investor Patrick Drahi amid fears over what he plans for the telecoms group.
Patterson, who led BT from 2013 to 2019, said he was “not worried” that Drahi had acquired an 18% stake in the main British telephony and broadband provider.
His comments come despite growing speculation that the company could face a takeover bid from the Frenchman.
‘Not concerned’: Gavin Patterson’s comments come amid heightened speculation that BT could face a takeover bid from Patrick Drahi
Drahi’s telecommunications company Altice took a 12% stake in June 2021 and increased it to 18% last December.
Drahi, who also owns auction house Sotheby’s, is worth around £3billion.
Patterson told the Mail: “Investing doesn’t make me nervous. I know Patrick, he’s a very smart businessman.
“He’s a reputable investor with investments all over the world, including the US, so investing in the UK is not remarkable.”
In August, a government review ruled Drahi could keep his stake in BT after finding it posed no threat to national security.
Patterson added: “The oversight from regulators and government and security services is very strong, so I don’t feel concerned.” Anyone who invests in telecommunications is screened and considered.
Patterson left BT in 2019 and was replaced by Philip Jansen, who is overseeing a huge overhaul.
Patterson joined US sales software company Salesforce, where he is chairman and chief strategy officer, but stepped down the next year, in part because his family did not move.