Vodafone NZ sold for $3.4b

NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 14 May 2019, 7:39AM
Vodafone NZ has found a buyer. Photo / Getty Images.
Vodafone NZ has found a buyer. Photo / Getty Images.

Vodafone has sold its New Zealand arm for the cash equivalent of $3.4 billion to a consortium comprising Infratil and Canadian firm Brookfield Asset Management.

It was reported earlier this week that there were a number of potential suitors interested int he business.

There was speculation earlier this week that Infratil was facing competition from private equity giants Blackstone, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and TPG Capital (not to be confused with Australian company TPG Telecom, which is attempting to merge with Vodafone Australia).

The deal with Infratil is subject to regulatory approvals and completion is anticipated during Vodafone Group's 2020 financial year, it said.

Upon competition, Vodafone Group and Vodafone New Zealand will enter a partner market agreement, which will include use of the Vodafone brand, preferential roaming arrangements, access to Vodafone's global IoT platform and central procurement function, and a range of services for the business and consumer markets.

"An important aspect of our strategy is the active management of our portfolio and deleveraging, which this transaction further demonstrates." Vodafone chief executive Nick Read said. "We have always been proud of our Vodafone New Zealand business, which has a great team, and we look forward to a continued close relationship through our partner market agreement."

Infratil, which is managed by Morrison and Co, was put on a trading halt by the New Zealand stock exchange on Friday when it announced it was in talks with another party to buy Vodafone's New Zealand business. The stock last traded at $4.60.

In November, Vodafone New Zealand's new chief executive Jason Parish said the plan was to float the company and the target for the initial public offering was 2020. That followed an earlier failed bid to sell the business for $3.44 billion to Sky Network Television. That was blocked by the Commerce Commission early 2017.

The latest deal comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recently blocked a A$15 billion merger of TPG Telecom and Vodafone's Australian business, arguing it would reduce competition.

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