Telecom plans Powertel buyout

Further Australian foray to be funded by cash and debt

Telecom chief executive Theresa Gattung has announced plans to acquire Australian telco PowerTel in full.

The plan has been unanimously endorsed by the PowerTel directors, Telecom said in a statement today. The proposal involves Telecom paying A$2.30 ($NZ2.58) per share in cash by way of a scheme of arrangement.

Telecom has also entered into an option agreement to acquire 10% of PowerTel’s shares on issue from its major shareholder TVG. The option may be exercised at a strike price of A$2.30 per share, subject to conditions.

“This acquisition brings two strongly complementary businesses together and is a step towards the consolidation of the Australian telecommunications industry,” said Telecom CFO Marko Bogoievski.

“It provides significant benefits to Telecom by enabling AAPT to leverage its investment in service capability and it gives us the scope over time to bring more of our customers onto the combined access network rather than servicing them through wholesale arrangements."

Rumours of the buyout emerged and were reported in the New Zealand Herald last week. It was seen as a defensive manoeuvre to block competitors buying PowerTel, with which Telecom has a growing wholesale relationship.

The acquisition will be funded by a combination of cash and debt, Telecom says.

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