The financial close in August of Trans-Tasman listed Infratil and Canadian giant Brookfield’s NZD 3.55bn (USD 2.28bn) acquisition of Vodafone NZ – the biggest M&A deal to close in the infrastructure arena so far this year – is a sign of the times.
It is a unit of a larger listed company, in a sector – telecommunications – that has been rarely tapped in Australasia, and, while dominant in its market, it is subject to more competition than a traditional infrastructure investor would like.
Infratil, its fund manager Morrison & Co, and partner Brookfield act more more like private equity investors than pure play infrastructure funds. This makes them more comfortable acquiring a telecoms carrier with a consumer retailing business that needs billions of dollars of investment in a new 5G network.
At the same time other traditional infrastructure investors have branched out into higher risk/return style investments.