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Bank in hot water over BT's Plusnet deal

Watchdog is not amused

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BT says it will continue to work with Rothschild bank, depite the financial institution giving it such poor advice over the Plusnet acquisition last year that the bank has been formally reprimanded by the Takeover Panel.

This is only the tenth time in the panel's history that it has seen fit make a "public statement of criticism".

The panel explains here (pdf), that Rothschild had failed to advise BT of its obligations once it had acquired 30 per cent or more of the voting stock of Plusnet.

The Takeover Code states that any organisation that acquires 30 per cent or more of voting shares in a company must then make an offer for the rest of the equity capital. Rothschild failed to make BT aware of this at any stage in the transaction.

Eventually the problem was flagged by BT's external legal advisers, and the telco was given special dispensation to sell off enough shares in Plusnet to take it back under the 30 per cent threshold.

The telco said in a statement that it was still reviewing the matter of its fees to Rothschild for the transaction, but added that the fiasco wouldn't neccessarily put it off working with Rothschild in the future: "We have had and will continue to have a good relationship with the bank," a spokesman said.

At the time of writing, Rothschild's press office was unavailable for comment. ®

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