U.K.-based telecom group Vodafone announced it has completed the full sale of Vodafone New Zealand Limited (VFNZ) to a consortium comprising Infratil Limited and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. for a cash consideration equivalent to an enterprise value of NZ$3.4 billion ($2.23 billion).
Vodafone and VFNZ have also entered into a partner market agreement, which includes 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.
Vodafone also confirmed that the proceeds from the sale of its New Zealand subsidiary will be used to reduce the group’s net debt.
Nick Read, CEO, Vodafone Group, said: “This transaction is a continuation of our strategy to optimize our portfolio and reduce our debt. I am pleased we will continue our 21-year relationship with the business and talented team in New Zealand through a partner market agreement, delivering Vodafone’s technology and services to benefit the country as it transitions to a digital society.”
The agreement was initially announced in May and was cleared by the New Zealand authorities during July.
The Vodafone New Zealand transaction also involved regulatory approvals, including a clearance under the local Commerce Act, and ongoing complex commercial and technology arrangements as VFNZ continues to be a partner market of the Vodafone Group.
Infratil is based in New Zealand and focuses on infrastructure investments. The company owns data, connectivity, social infrastructure, renewable energy and airport businesses.
According to the latest available figures from GSMA Intelligence, Vodafone New Zealand was the country’s largest operator in terms of connections, with 5.6 million including cellular IoT. Spark is the second largest telco in New Zealand, with 2.6 million.
Vodafone New Zealand may probably announce what would be country’s first 5G mobile network on August 1, to coincide with Infratil and Canadian investor Brookfield taking ownership of the company, New Zealand news site stuff reported citing sources with knowledge of the matter.
Vodafone already owns spectrum in the 3.5GHz band which could be used for the telco’s 5G commercial offering. Those spectrum rights are due to expire in November 2022, before which the spectrum band is due to be re-auctioned by the government, according to the report.