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Vodafone offloads New Zealand business to Brookfield, Infratil for $2.36 billion

FILE PHOTO: A branded sign is displayed on a Vodafone store in London, Britain May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

(Reuters) - Vodafone Group Plc said on Monday that it had agreed to sell its New Zealand business for about 2.1 billion euros ($2.36 billion) to a consortium comprising of New Zealand-based Infratil Ltd and Canada's Brookfield Asset Management.

Vodafone is looking to consolidate its businesses in Australia and New Zealand, with an $11 billion deal underway to merge its Australian joint venture business with TPG Telecom. Australia's antitrust regulator already blocked that merger bid.

Deutsche Bank and Deutsche Craigs Limited are acting as financial advisers to Vodafone, the company said.

Vodafone, in 2017, had tried to sell Vodafone NZ to Sky Network Television for NZ$3.44 billion ($2.3 billion) but failed to get regulatory clearance because of monopoly concerns.

The business, since then, axed thousands of jobs and restructured itself in preparation to a stock market float that never saw the light of the day.

Its newly installed Chief Executive Officer Jason Paris had said in November that the company would look to go public in 2020.

In May 2019, utilities investor Infratil had said that it was in talks with Vodafone to buy, along with another unnamed party, the telecom giant's New Zealand operations.

Vodafone on Monday said that, on completion of the deal, it would enter into a deal with Vodafone New Zealand to allow it to use its brand name and certain services. The completion of the deal is still contingent on necessary regulatory approvals.

Vodafone New Zealand has about two million mobile customers compared to about 700 million for parent Vodafone Group as of December 31, 2018.

(Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Rishika Chatterjee; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Grant McCool)