BT to sell off French business to Computacenter

The deal is still subject to regulation and coronavirus guidance, but BT hopes it will go through by the end of the year

Close-up image of the BT Tower in London

BT has entered negotiations with a Hertfordshire-based IT company to sell off its operations in France as part of a planned divestment to streamline its business.

The deal will see Computercenter take on management and maintenance of IT and network infrastructure and a network of professional services in the country. Financial details have not yet been announced.

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For the fiscal year ending March 2019, this section of BT's business generated total revenues of £104 million. However, this is being moved on as part of a strategy to transform BT's global operations and shift focus to delivering next-generation networking, cloud and security services to multinational organisations.

The transaction is subjected to consultations and will have to adhere to additional guidance from France's government put in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It will also be subjected to regulatory approval, but it's hoped the deal will be completed by the end of the year.

The telecoms giant said it would still retain a strong presence in France, serving multinational organisations, which includes access to its global network and cyber security centre, and it will also enter into a partnership with Computacenter to ensure continuity for its existing customers and further growth opportunities.

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This is another part of a wider strategy for BT Global to become a more agile business, according to its CEO, Bas Burger. The firm wants more focus on the growing requirements of its multinational customers and also those of its UK customers.

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"This planned acquisition represents a small increase in our current revenues in France, which totalled €644.7 million (£586m) in 2019," Burger said. "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."

For Computacenter, the deal meals a bigger footprint in France and platform to continue building its global business. 

"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," said Mike Norris, CEO of Computacenter.

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