(Bloomberg) --

Altice U.K. has agreed to buy a 12% stake in BT Group Plc, in a high-profile backing of the U.K.’s company’s plan to expand its high-speed broadband internet network.

The newly created company, controlled by billionaire Patrick Drahi, has agreed to buy 1.2 billion shares of BT, Altice said in a statement on Thursday. The stock had a value of about 2.2 billion pounds ($3.1 billion) as of Wednesday’s close.

Drahi said he’ll use Altice’s expertise in rolling out fiber networks to help BT expand across the U.K. The British company has been looking for a partner to help it build out an extra 5 million fiber optic connections by 2026, opening up its infrastructure to an external investor for the first time.

Read More: BT Drops as it Explores Joint Venture to Boost Fiber Rollout

Altice said that it has no plans to launch a full takeover bid for BT. The acquisition was through a new entity, Altice U.K., which was established to hold the shares in BT and is separate from the European and U.S. businesses, the company said in the statement.

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