Re: Ducts are all
Super dumb. The Crown guarantee only comes into effect if, and only if, BT group becomes insolvent. By then the shareholders will have had their entire investment wiped out. The Crown Guarantee is entirely worthless to the shareholders - they still carry the liability up to the entire value of their shares.
The Government hope, of course, that they will not have to pick up the BT pension deficit, much of it down to a scheme set up by the state when there wee 260,000 employees. It's notable that the government did have to pick up the deficit for the parallel Royal Mail scheme (around £8n from memory - no doubt more now) before any investor would even touch it.
So if you count shareholders not being responsible for the debt because if the company was wiped out servicing it, then by all means continue to do so. In the meantime, real shareholders will continue to act as if it is their investment which is at risk because that is the case and the market will price shares with that in mind.
nb. It is also the pension fund trustees who, in the final analysis, would have stopped Ofcom forcing a BT/OR split as it was obvious (and recognised) that OR cash flow was required to service the deficit. If that had been on the cards, the trustees would have been in court immediately to secure the deficit funding and the whole exercise would have hit the buffers.
There is even talk that the pension scheme could be given the network as collatoral for the pension deficit.