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STOCKS TO WATCH: Headache in US for the tycoon eyeing up BT

STOCKS TO WATCH: Headache in US for the tycoon eyeing up BT; Boardroom action at Glaxo


Telecoms tycoon Patrick Drahi may have been born in Casablanca, but his arrival at BT looks far from the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The billionaire took a 12 per cent stake in June and last week upped his holding to 18 per cent.

He has been outwardly supportive of its bosses’ current strategy. But industry watchers don’t trust his intentions and reckon a bid could be forthcoming in 2022.

Industry watchers don’t trust Drahi’s intentions and reckon a bid for BT could be forthcoming

Drahi is flirting with a flotation of auction house Sotheby’s and has been trying to offload his Portuguese business. Some reckon both could help fund a tilt at BT.

But any bid could be hampered by headaches Stateside, where the tycoon has seen shares in Altice USA, his cable TV company, dwindle of late.

Concerns over loss of market share in broadband and excessive cost cuts have weighed on the stock, which has more than halved in just six months.

That’s wiped £600million off Drahi’s holding, now worth £500million, and has lightened his coffers for any BT bid.

Rolls-Royce 

The momentum behind Rolls-Royce’s programme to make small nuclear reactors in factories is gathering pace.

The engineer will this week reveal it has signed a £3.7million contract with steelmaker Sheffield Forgemasters to work out how to manufacture vital components.

It’s a fillip for the Yorkshire steel producer, which traces its roots to the 1750s and was nationalised in the summer after struggling in the face of overseas competition.

The deal is modest for Rolls-Royce, but is a step to achieving regulatory approval for an ambitious project still at least a decade away from producing power.

It is also the first contract struck since the injection of £200million of UK grant funding into the programme.

GlaxoSmithKline 

Pharmaceutical bosses won’t be clocking off this Christmas, with Covid vaccines and treatments keeping them busy.

Expect boardroom action at GlaxoSmithKline too.

It will next year demerge its consumer arm, maker of Panadol and ChapStick. Last week it revealed this new group’s senior leadership team with one omission: the name of its chairman, expected before the end of the year.

Glaxo’s senior independent director Vindi Banga, who has significant consumer experience with Unilever, has been tipped.

But doubts remain over whether activist investors Elliott and Bluebell would be angered by an insider hire like Banga.

Perhaps Glaxo has a festive surprise in store for its dissident shareholders.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk