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BT's massive £5.9 billion rights issue is off and running and the telecoms giant has revealed that 89.5 per cent of shareholders have decided to take up their allocation.

Nearly all institutional investors have gone for the offer to buy extra discounted BT shares (three for every 10 held), but 1.8 million private investors (nearly half of all private investors) have decided not to risk it, leaving 207 million shares for the market to fight over.

The shares came at a huge 47 per cent discounted rate of £3. BT's share price has risen slightly this morning.

The rights issue was launched as one element in reducing the company's huge debt. Other measures have included selling real estate and selling off stakes in mobile companies and Yell. ®

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