Tycoon who is BT’s largest shareholder to meet union bosses

Secretive tycoon who is BT’s largest shareholder arranges to meet union bosses in highly unusual move

The secretive tycoon who has become BT’s largest shareholder has arranged to meet union bosses in a highly unusual move. 

French-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi will soon meet with Dave Ward, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, The Mail on Sunday understands. 

It is not known why Drahi, 57, wants to meet Ward, but the move comes just as unions threaten BT with strike action. 

In focus: Patrick Drahi stunned the City by taking a 12.1 per cent stake in BT worth £2.2billion

Drahi is not expected to intervene in the dispute and may seek to reassure BT workers about his long-term intentions as an investor.

Last week, he stunned the City by taking a 12.1 per cent stake in BT worth £2.2billion through Altice UK. He publicly backed BT’s strategy, including its roll-out of superfast full-fibre broadband.

It is understood that the billionaire has told unions he is not planning a full takeover of BT. 

Drahi’s arrival comes at a delicate juncture in talks between BT and union bosses over redundancies, pay and terms relating to a plan to slim down its property portfolio.

Talks began last month and were extended last week, but sources said further negotiations this week will be ‘make or break’. If talks fail, CWU members will be balloted on a first nationwide strike since 1987. 

The CWU represents around 45,000 staff across BT, EE and infrastructure arm Openreach. 

The Mail on Sunday first reported Drahi’s interest in BT last year amid rumours that an Altice company had secured backing from JP Morgan with a view to paying £20billion for Openreach. 

BT, Altice UK and the CWU declined to comment. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk