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Telecom NZ snaps up PowerTel

Telecom New Zealand snaps up PowerTel
Written by Renai LeMay, Contributor

Telecom New Zealand announced today that it will acquire PowerTel, valuing the Australian business and wholesale telco at AU$357 million.

In a statement released this morning, Telecom NZ chief financial officer Marko Bogoievski highlighted synergies between PowerTel and Telecom's Australian business AAPT, which had previously itself been up for sale.

"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," said Bogoievski.

The PowerTel buy was foreshadowed in early November when the pair forged a closer technical relationship between their respective networks. At the time, Bogoievski stated the move was the start of a broader relationship between the two.

Today's move also likely puts paid to a reported interest in PowerTel on the part of the nation's number two telco Optus. Yesterday, Optus chief executive Paul O'Sullivan declined to comment to journalists on his company's interest in the matter.

Telecom said it would acquire all of PowerTel's listed capital for AU$2.30 a share -- which Telecom said was a significant premium on the stock.

PowerTel also has shareholdings in fellow second tier telcos Macquarie Telecom and iiNet, and exclusively wholesales access to iiNet's extensive ADSL2+ broadband network.

Telecom NZ expects to send key documents on the matter to PowerTel shareholders in late March, with stock holders getting the ability to vote on the acquisition proceedings in April.

PowerTel's board has unanimously endorsed the Telecom NZ acquisition.

Scott Mckenzie contributed to this report.

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