Vodafone NZ sold for $3.5 billion

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26:  The Vodafone logo is seen on a store front on October 26, 2016 in London, England.  Regulator Ofcom has fined Vodafone, who have 20 million mobile customers in the UK, £4.6m for breaching consumer protection rules, the largest fine handed out so far to a telecoms operator.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
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Vodafone NZ will be sold for NZ$3.588 billion to a consortium comprising of infrastructure investment company Infratil and Canada's Brookfield Asset Management.

The deal, announced by Vodafone on Tuesday, comes as the company attempts to consolidate its Australia and New Zealand businesses to reduce debt.

Vodafone NZ chief exeuctive Jason Paris said it was a great outcome for New Zealand consumers and "one that marks a new era".

"We’ve got the backing of two new world class and long-term investors plus we can continue to tap into Vodafone’s global expertise, including all the services our customers value such as global roaming, global procurement and the world’s largest internet of things platform," said Paris.

He said the company's strategy and management team would stay the same.

Infrantil chief executive Marko Bogoievski said his company had a track record of establishing long-term partnerships to "realise the growth potential of our investee companies"

"We are also excited to be introducing some local ownership, which will be important in terms of how we work together to grow the business over the coming years."

There was an AU$15 billion deal underway to merge its Australian joint venture business with TPG Telecom, but Australia's anti-trust regulator has blocked that bid.

Vodafone, in 2017, attempted to sell the Kiwi branch to Sky Network Television for NZ$3.44 billion (US$2.3 billion) but failed to due to monopoly concerns by regulators.

Paris said in November the company would look to go public in 2020.

In March, more than 2000 Vodafone staff were offered voluntary redundancy with the company wanting to make itself look like an attractive investment.

At the time, Paris said there would also end up being compulsory redundancies.

"We are not going to get where we need to get to just through a voluntary redundancy process," he told Stuff.

In May, utilities investor Infratil had said that it was in talks with Vodafone to buy, along with another unnamed party, the telecom giant’s New Zealand operations.

Once the New Zealand business was sold, Vodafone said it would enter into a deal to allow the New Zealand branch to continue to use its brand name and some services.

The sale would still need to be approved by regulators.

Vodafone New Zealand currently has about two million mobile customers compared to about 700 million for parent Vodafone Group as of December 31, 2018.

Reuters / Newshub.