Vodafone to sell NZ unit to consortium

Vodafone Group has agreed to sell its 100% stake in its New Zealand unit to a consortium comprising of New Zealand-based Infratil and Brookfield Asset Management for NZ$3.4bn (US$2.23bn). Vodafone said that the funds received would be used to reduce its debt pile.

Vodafone New Zealand, one of the largest mobile operators in the country, has about two million mobile customers.

Vodafone Group had tried to sell Vodafone NZ to Sky Network Television for NZ$3.44bn (US$2.3bn) in 2017 but failed to get regulatory clearance because of monopoly concerns.

Since then, Vodafone NZ cut thousands of jobs and restructured itself in preparation to list on the local stock market. The Listing, however, never materialised.

The consortium is expected to be fund the deal with a NZ$1bn (US$655.3m) contribution from each party, with Infratil appointing UBS Group to raise NZ$400m (US$262.1m) in new equity.

Brookfield has engaged about five lenders to back its purchase, including The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.

Deutsche Bank and Deutsche Craigs Limited are acting as financial advisers to Vodafone and Bell Gully is acting as legal counsel.