Vodafone unlikely to buy out Australian JV partner

23 Oct 2013

Vodafone Australia’s CEO Bill Morrow is said to have ruled out a potential buyout by UK-based Vodafone Group of Hutchison Australia’s 50% in the pair’s Australian joint venture, The Australian reports, with the executive claiming that the two companies would likely struggle to agree on a price. With Vodafone Australia being a 50-50 joint venture between Vodafone Group and Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, Mr Morrow was cited as saying: ‘I know of nothing at this point but I just think it is highly unlikely because Vodafone and Hutch are getting on quite well,’ adding: ‘The other thing too is that Hutch is a clever company and doesn’t sell anything cheap and Vodafone likes to buy things cheap so that’s naturally a tough paradigm when you have that attitude.’

Meanwhile, the executive has confirmed that Vodafone Australia could be interested in acquiring the fibre assets of AAPT, following reports that the latter’s parent company Telecom New Zealand was considering the sale of its Australian operations. However, Mr Morrow noted that no formal approach had been made with regards to AAPT, saying: ‘Is there any specific discussion? Absolutely, no. But we will monitor it in case anything pops up.’ Commenting on the potential of a deal though, the executive stated: ‘Would we be interested in intercity backhaul links to reduce our cost structure? Absolutely … Of course we will look at AAPT if it makes sense to us. Any company that is not doing that is not doing its job.’

Australia, AAPT, CK Hutchison, Vodafone Australia (TPG Telecom Limited), Vodafone Group