Spark New Zealand has confirmed that its independent tower unit Connexa has been given the go-ahead by the Commerce Commission to acquire the passive mobile telecommunications tower assets of 2degrees Mobile Limited and 2degrees Networks Limited from its owners Macquarie Asset Management and Aware Super Limited.

The deal, which was announced in December of last year, is worth NZ $1.1 billion ($690m) and covers infrastructure across the country.

Spark NZ Connexa
– Spark NZ

The deal will see Connexa scoop 1,124 towers from NZ telco 2degrees, with the seller entering a 20-year agreement with Connexa (plus rights of renewal) to secure access to existing and new towers.

This transaction also includes a commitment to build and co-locate 450 sites over the next decade.

In a statement, Spark NZ reiterated that it will not contribute equity to the acquisition, as its shareholding in Connexa will dilute from 30 percent to approximately 17 percent (of the resulting larger business) following the completion of the acquisition.

The operator said that Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan will provide funding for the deal and its shareholding will increase to approximately 83 percent.

“We welcome the Commerce Commission’s approval of the acquisition, which we believe will support the faster deployment of new digital infrastructure across Aotearoa through greater efficiencies created by infrastructure sharing,” said Spark CEO Jolie Hodson.

Connexa now operates as an independent unit from Spark NZ, after the operator sold a 70 percent stake in Spark’s passive mobile infrastructure assets to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in July 2022. The transaction was only finalized in October 2022 for NZ $900m ($573m).

Completion of the deal is still subject to approval from the Overseas Investment Office (OIO).

Formerly known as NZ Communications and Econet Wireless, 2degrees launched in 2009 and offers mobile and broadband services across New Zealand, with the company merging with Vocus NZ last year.

2degrees is owned by Voyage Australia Pty Limited and is part of its Vocus Group; it was previously owned by US-based Trilogy International Partners.