Having made £1bn in gross savings well ahead of March 2023 deadline, more cuts could be on BT's agenda

Now exec talk turns to defence against corporate takeovers and where next for efficiency gains

BT is said to be mulling whether to widen the multibillion-pound cost savings initiative that began in 2018 after meeting financial goals well ahead of the deadline.

The former state monopoly, which reports its latest quarterly Profit & Loss accounts on 4 November, released a statement today updating on its progress.

"BT confirms that it has delivered on its £1bn of gross annualised cost savings 18 months ahead of the March 2023 target," it told the London Stock Exchange.

The existing "transformation" programme that begun under previous BT chief exec Gavin Patterson includes shedding 13,000 staff and reducing real estate by 90 per cent with the aim of saving up to £1.5bn in annual overheads.

The senior management team led by Philip Jansen is reported to be considering further action to reduce operating expenses, although some BT execs are said to be waiting for French billionaire Patrick Drahi to show his hand first. Drahi runs Altice, which took a 12.1 per cent stake in BT in June for £2bn.

Drahi, who said at the time of the initial investment that Altice did not wish to take over BT, is tied by the no-bid statement for six months, meaning he will be finally free to file a bid from the 10th of next month.

According to Sky last week, BT hired advisory outfit Robey Warshaw, alongside Goldman Sachs, to consult on a number of different scenarios. These include Altice making a formal takeover of BT or demanding that BT spins out its consumer business or Openreach, the broadband plumbing division.

BT is also understood to be working with investment bankers at Lazard on a potential sale of or partnership for its sports broadcasting operation.

Politicians are paying great interest to proceedings as BT has been tasked with helping to build superfast broadband across the UK, pledging to bring FTTP connectivity to 25 million premises by the end of 2026.

As might be expected, given the scale of the transformation agenda at BT, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) will no doubt be watching from the sidelines on 4 November to ascertain if BT goes public with further efficiency goals.

On 12 May, the eve of the union's national ballot for strike action – its first since 1987 – BT agreed to suspend talks on compulsory redundancies and has since agreed with the CWU to draw up principles to shape future planning on pay and job losses.

Adam Crozier – formerly chief of the Football Association, ITV, and Royal Mail – is joining BT from a month today, following the exit of Jan du Plessis.

The Register has asked BT to comment. ®

Other stories you might like

  • Ex-Qualcomm Snapdragon chief turns CEO at AI chip startup MemryX

    Meet the new boss

    A former executive leading Qualcomm's Snapdragon computing platforms has departed the company to become CEO at an AI chip startup.

    Keith Kressin will lead product commercialization for MemryX, which was founded in 2019 and makes memory-intensive AI chiplets.

    The company is now out of stealth mode and will soon commercially ship its AI chips to non-tech customers. The company was testing early generations of its chips with industries including auto and robotics.

    Continue reading
  • Aircraft can't land safely due to interference with upcoming 5G C-band broadband service

    Expect flight delays and diversions, US Federal Aviation Administation warns

    The new 5G C-band wireless broadband service expected to rollout on 5 January 2022 in the US will disrupt local radio signals and make it difficult for airplanes to land safely in harsh weather conditions, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

    Pilots rely on radio altimeter readings to figure out when and where an aircraft should carry out a series of operations to prepare for touchdown. But the upcoming 5G C-band service beaming from cell towers threatens to interfere with these signals, the FAA warned in two reports.

    Flights may have to be delayed or restricted at certain airports as the new broadband service comes into effect next year. The change could affect some 6,834 airplanes and 1,828 helicopters. The cost to operators is expected to be $580,890.

    Continue reading
  • Canadian charged with running ransomware attack on US state of Alaska

    Cross-border op nabbed our man, boast cops and prosecutors

    A Canadian man is accused of masterminding ransomware attacks that caused "damage" to systems belonging to the US state of Alaska.

    A federal indictment against Matthew Philbert, 31, of Ottawa, was unsealed yesterday, and he was also concurrently charged by the Canadian authorities with a number of other criminal offences at the same time. US prosecutors [PDF] claimed he carried out "cyber related offences" – including a specific 2018 attack on a computer in Alaska.

    The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that Philbert was charged after a 23 month investigation "that also involved the [Royal Canadian Mounted Police, federal enforcers], the FBI and Europol."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021