December 8, 2014 / 10:28 AM / 5 years ago

Woodford IM backs possible BT mobile deal, takes stake in Breedon

LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Woodford Investment Management, run by ‘star’ manager Neil Woodford, said on Monday it was “increasingly supportive” of a possible move by BT to buy mobile phone assets in Britain.

The telecoms company is the fifth-biggest fund holding in Woodford’s 3.74 billion pound ($5.83 billion) CF Woodford Equity Income fund, at 5.82 percent, which valued it at 218 million pounds at the end of November.

In a statement on its website detailing the funds’s activity in November, the company said BT had been the biggest contributor to its performance after it confirmed it was considering buying a mobile network operator.

“Whilst we were initially sceptical about this plan, after some consideration we find ourselves increasingly supportive of the prospect of an acquisition of mobile assets,” the company said.

“The risk of not doing a deal might actually undermine BT’s current position and, if a deal were completed, the company would be well-placed to take advantage of the ‘quad-play’ opportunity, delivering combined broadband, fixed line, TV and mobile services to its customers.”

The company also said it had bought into Breedon Aggregates in November and it accounted for 0.56 percent of the fund by end-November.

“This is a business we have known for several years and it looks well-placed to participate in and benefit from consolidation in the UK’s aggregates industry,” the company said.

“It has a strong management team with a proven track record of creating shareholder value through sensible acquisition activity.”

$1 = 0.6416 British Pounds Reporting by Simon Jessop and Nishant Kumar; editing by Carolyn Cohn

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