I am told that BT plans a six hour briefing to Investment analysts – said to be a record. The build up is certainly going well. Last week a club of 22 analysts said they expect BT to outperform the market over the next year.
Am I out on a limb with my criticisms of BT’s plans to invest in content to compete with Sky and Liberty (new owners of Virgin) instead of upping its plans to invest in better, faster infrastructure to rent to them?
Does a critical mass of analysts believe BT can create a profitable quadruple play business when so many others have failed: from AT&T (who remembers the consequences of the latter’s attempt to provide the commercial, not just communications, infrastructures for the Internet?) onwards?
Or will they come to the conclusion that a break up of BT and sale of the content and systems integration operations would leave a much more profitable core business – selling better, faster customer connectivity and trunking to Liberty, Sky, Pearson, Reed-Elsevier and the rest of the UK content production and distribution industries, as well as the rest of British Business, in competition with players like Arqiva and the other MacQarie “children”.
If so, BTbecomes a take-over target for who-over can organise a deal with HM Treasury to cover the pension fund liabilities and Cabinet Office to cover the Critical National Infrastructure responsibilities.
Unless, of course, the content plans are actually defensive, to add non-regulated revenue streams prior to a break-up led from within. My immediate thoughts are that that could make the analysts current projections look modest and return BT to its pre-1997 growth trajectory.
Either way, I would love to hear the discussions the analysts have with the fund managers they advise after the briefing – and to see how the share price moves once the analysts have digested what they hear.