Utilities investor Infratil has confirmed it is in talks with Vodafone Group to buy the telecom giant’s New Zealand operations for an estimated USD1.8 billion, the New Zealand Herald has reported. Infratil, which is thought to be partnering with Canadian investment company Brookfield, has revealed in a statement that discussions are ongoing and no deal has been agreed. Infratil is reportedly facing competition from three private equity groups – Blackstone, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and TPG Capital – two of which are thought to have lodged higher bids.
The proposed deal comes as Vodafone is looking to consolidate its business in Australia and New Zealand. Vodafone NZ has recently undergone a major restructure to improve profitability ahead of a divestment from its UK parent and a possible IPO. However, a recent global roadshow for potential investors reportedly failed to generate much interest. Vodafone NZ made a profit of NZD57.5 million (USD37.9 million) in 2017, following a loss of NZD18.3 million the previous year.