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Leadership / Strategy

BT Confirms Plans to Offload French Operations as Global Asset Sale Continues

BT confirmed today that it is in talks to sell its French operations to the UK’s Computacenter, as it continues a major asset disposal programme.

The exclusive negotiations are in an advanced stage. The sale is subject to consultations with works councils over a minimum period of two months.

BT’s operations France include management and maintenance of IT and network infrastructure, as well as networking and related professional services. They generated circa £104 million in revenues in the fiscal year to March 2020.

The proposed sale comes days after BT also offloaded its operations and infrastructure in 16 countries in Latin America to a local affiliate of CIH Technology.

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“This planned acquisition represents a small increase in our current revenues in France,” said Mike Norris, CEO of Computacenter Group.

He added: “The current coronavirus pandemic shows the importance of secure and reliable networks to our customers and this deal would significantly strengthen our existing French business in this growth area. It would bring our customer offering in France closer to the broader portfolio in our larger European markets, providing a strong foundation for our continued long-term growth.”

BT has been extensively paring back its Global division, which was called “Global Services” before a name change last year. It plans to focus on higher margin access deals instead, to support large multi-national customers.

Another recent disposal included its December 2019 sale of Spanish fiber networks and data centers to private equity group Portobello Capital.

BT has been scrambling to plug an £11 billion pension deficit. UK restructuring has included extensive job cuts, on the back of a May 2018 pledge to slash cash spend over the next three years by at least £1.5 billion. BT has also exited its central London headquarters in favour of 30 “modern, strategic sites” around the country.

Terms of today’s proposed deal were not disclosed.
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CBR Staff Writer

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