WELLINGTON, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Vodafone sealed a deal to sell its New Zealand company Vodafone NZ for 3.4 billion New Zealand dollars (2.24 billion U.S. dollars) to a consortium comprising Infratil and Canadian investment firm Brookfield Asset Management, announced Vodafone Group on Tuesday.
It is indicated that the sale would reduce Vodafone's debt. Vodafone said the business would be allowed to continue to use the Vodafone brand and would have "preferential access" to Vodafone's networks overseas that would allow customers to roam on its network when travelling, under a partnership agreement.
Nick Read, Chief Executive of Vodafone Group, said the transaction demonstrated as an important aspect of the company's strategy that is the active management of the company's portfolio and deleveraging.
"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."
Vodafone NZ boss Jason Paris said the deal would give customers "the best of both worlds".
Infratil and Brookfield would each pay just over 1 billion New Zealand dollars in cash to Vodafone with the balance of the 3.4 billion dollars purchase price funded with Vodafone NZ debt and "a portion of equity reserved for the Vodafone NZ executive team".
The deal, which is subject to approval by New Zealand Overseas Investment Office and the Commerce Commission, is expected to be completed by the end of August.
Vodafone NZ is the largest mobile provider in New Zealand, with a 41 percent market share. Spark comes second with a 37 percent market share with its Skinny brand included.
Vodafone Group is one of the worlds largest telecommunications companies and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone Group has mobile operations in 25 countries, partners with mobile networks in 41 more, and fixed broadband operations in 19 markets.
Infratil is an investment company listed on the NZX stock market where it has a market value of about 2.5 billion NZ dollars. Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is a global alternative asset management company with over 365 billion U.S. dolllars in assets under management. The company is co-listed on the New York, Toronto and Euronext stock exchanges. (1 NZ dollar equals to 0.66 U.S. dollar)