Friday, 31 May 2019 11:55

NZ competition regulator scrutinises Infratil acquisition of Vodafone Featured


New Zealand’s competition regulator, The Commerce Commission, is still considering whether to give the green light to the acquisition of Vodafone NZ by the Infratil investment consortium.

The Commission has just released a Statement of Preliminary Issues relating to an application by Infratil seeking clearance to acquire up to 50% of the shares in Vodafone New Zealand.

And on its deliberations on the effects of the proposed acquisition on market competition, the Commission’s statement raises the issue of Infratil’s 51% share in telecommunications services company Trustpower and that company’s recently announced arrangement with New Zealand’s largest telco Spark to offer wireless broadband and mobile services.

As reported by iTWire earlier this month, Vodafone New Zealand has been bought by a consortium of long-term investors including Infratil, and Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management for €2.1 billion (NZ$3.59 billion).

In line with its regulatory role, the Commission said on Friday, when releasing its Statement of Preliminary Issues, it would give clearance to the proposed acquisition if it is satisfied there is unlikely to be a lessening of competition in the market.

The Commission also noted that Infratil in its submission to it had said that Trustpower and Vodafone will continue to operate as separate entities post-acquisition.

And, as reported by iTWire, in a statement when the acquisition was announced, the Vodafone Group, which owns 100% of Vodafone New Zealand, said once the sale was finalised, it would enter into a multi-year partner marketing arrangement which would include “preferential roaming arrangements, access to Vodafone’s global Internet of Things platform and central procurement functions, plus a range of services for business and consumer markets”.

And Infratil chief executive Marko Bogoievski said at the time that “Infratil has a proven track record of establishing long-term partnerships to realise the growth potential of our investee companies, and we are particularly pleased to have secured this opportunity with Vodafone NZ”.

"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.”

The Commerce Commission has invited “interested parties” to provide comments on the likely competitive effects of the proposed acquisition by 14 June.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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