23 Feb 2015
Spark New Zealand (formerly Telecom New Zealand) issued a press release on its website today (23 February 2015) announcing that it has concluded the sale of its 60% interest in Telecom Cook Islands (TCI), the incumbent telecommunications provider in the Cook Islands, for approximately NZD23 million (USD17.3 million) to Teleraro Limited. The release included a statement from Spark’s managing director Simon Moutter saying that the sale of TCI is consistent with Spark’s strategy to focus principally on its New Zealand operations.
TeleGeography notes that Samoan-backed bidder Teleraro beat two rival bids from Caribbean-based Digicel Group and a Cook Islands-registered consortium named Orama Limited. Despite local reports in April 2014 indicating that Digicel had secured the purchase of the 60% stake in Telecom Cook Islands, the tender process was subsequently extended to allow full consideration of the bids from Teleraro and Orama. According to regional press, Teleraro emerged as the preferred bidder for Spark’s stake in December 2014, and the deal has now satisfied all conditions imposed by the Cook Islands government, which owns the other 40% in TCI. Teleraro is reportedly 75% owned by wireline, broadband and mobile services provider Bluesky Samoa (formerly SamoaTel), with the remaining 25% held in a trust by Bluesky Samoa for local investors to purchase. BlueSky Samoa is 75%-owned by BlueSky Communications (itself owned by eLandia Group) and other investors from Samoa (Independent State of Samoa) and American Samoa, while 25% is held by Unit Trust of Samoa (UTOS).