back to article Openreach boss denies BT selling stake in UK's national broadband plumber

Openreach boss Clive Selley has roundly dismissed a report out last night that BT was "in talks" with buyers to flog a multibillion-pound stake in its pipe-laying arm to investors. In a memo to staff responding to the article in the FT, Selley wrote: Many of you will have seen the reports overnight about BT being in talks to …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Did they learn anything from letting go of O2? We'll just have to wait & see.

    1. eionmac

      They were forced by HMG to sell O2.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No, it was a survival issue as the cost of 3G licences via an auction process left them with no money to spend on actually rolling out a network. BT sold O2 and most of their buildings as well.

  2. Commswonk Silver badge

    Warning: Weasel Alert...

    From the article: ...BT Group CEO Philip Jansen saying: "On separating out of Openreach in terms of looking at the value of that as an individual entity, I mean, the answer is 'not now'.

    Not now is not quite the same as No, is it?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Warning: Weasel Alert...

      BT could be preparing to make OpenRetch a totally separate company (As Sky, VM and Talk-Talk want) if OFCOM says jump.

      Then the issue of ownership would have to be sorted. It might even need an act of parliament given the strategic nature/national security impact of the OpenRetch network.

  3. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge

    More money into UK Plc

    So flog off more vital national infrastructure to foreign investors.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Cash in before the collapse

      Telephones aren't vital infrastructure! If the yanks are foolish enough to give us money for it then give it to them.

      I do everything using the WiFi. I can't even remember the last time I used the telephone line for anything. The only reason I have the telephone is because my WiFi provider forces me to also get a telephone. When providers start selling WiFi without forcing us to also buy telephones OpenReach will dissappear!

      1. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: Cash in before the collapse

        It's a shame I can't work out if you're joking or ignorant. Maybe if you knew what Openreach does you'd be less likely to write posts like that. Unless you're with Virgin Media or possibly a private fibre company (although even they might end up on Openreach eventually) your broadband provider is likely to using Openreach lines to get the service to you.

        1. Commswonk Silver badge

          Re: Cash in before the collapse

          It's a shame I can't work out if you're joking or ignorant.

          I think it's the latter, given that the AC in question doesn't seem to know that Macquarie is Australian, not American.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Cash in before the collapse

        "I do everything using the WiFi. "

        How do you think your home WiFi router reaches the internet? Magic?

        Even if you are on VM or some other non-BT "wires", it WILL go through the BT national infrastructure at one or more points on it's journey.

      3. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Cash in before the collapse

        You're confusing telephones with communication. Communication is vital infrastructure. It doesn't matter if you use a phone, a laptop, a PC or a tablet. It doesn't matter if you're using the phone link, WiFi, Internet or mobile data ; it's all communication.

        And if you think phones communicate any differently than PCs these days, you need to wake up to the 3rd millennium. POTS is long dead, everything is TCP/IP these days.

    2. aks Bronze badge

      Re: More money into UK Plc

      BT is a publicly traded company. Who knows what percentage of the current shareholders are foreign individuals, companies, or sovereign wealth funds.

      Its headquarters are in the UK, that's all.

      BT and Openreach's operations are dominated by UK business and customers, so that's not likely to change.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: More money into UK Plc

        It is (I think) the UK’s largest payer of corporate tax. If it were bought by an overseas outfit I’d imagine they’d try to engineer their income in such a way that they’d pay very little here. It’s mostly owned currently by pension funds- shareholding’s are a matter of public record.

  4. Claverhouse Silver badge

    Quick before Rupert Murdoch grabs it !

    1. Raymond Berenger

      Probably the real plan. Rupe will be wanting some reward for so relentlessly lying about Corbyn in his publications.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Devil

    So it seems BT *can* separate out Openreach assets and liabilities

    When there's a huge profit to be made doing so.

    Effectively transferring a national monopoly back into private hands

    Perfectly in line with Conservative party dogma.

    B**stards.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: So it seems BT *can* separate out Openreach assets and liabilities

      WTF are you on about? BT has been a private company for decades (yes I know The Reg makes out it was last week it was sold off). If I'm not mistaken, it was one of the first Nationsl monopolies to be sold off.

    2. druck Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: So it seems BT *can* separate out Openreach assets and liabilities

      He posted exactly the same thing back in 1984, must be senility kicking in.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So it seems BT *can* separate out Openreach assets and liabilities

      I think you’re stretching the definition of monopoly when Virgin reach most British homes and there are three national cell operators not owned by BT.

    4. hoola Bronze badge

      Re: So it seems BT *can* separate out Openreach assets and liabilities

      From what I read the point is that BECAUSE they can no longer use Huawei kit to implement much of what they need to do BT/Openreach now have to spend millions of pounds of money they had no budgeted for.

      The result of this is going to be a classic shooting oneself in the foot with the result that core infrastructure will be sold off to foreign companies (with the US having a finger in the pie) so that they can afford to upgrade and expand.

      The ultimate incongruity will be if the Chinese end up buying a stake. This really is short sighted stupidity by Government at is best.

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