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Another kicking for the UK in NZ as Vodafone/Sky merger officially collapses

Lions NZ handoff

Vodafone is having a similar experience to the UK and Irish Lions in New Zealand as it finally pulls the plug on its troubled merger with Sky in the land of the All Blacks.

A year ago the two companies announced their intention to merge their NZ operations in order to create the dominant multiplay operator in the country. That ambition was also a major reason for regulatory and antitrust authorities to have a close look at the move and earlier this year the NZ Commerce Commission vetoed the move.

In April of this year another NZ authority – the Overseas Investment Office – said it had jurisdiction over the merger because both companies are majority-owned overseas. That seemed to throw the whole venture a lifeline, although neither company formally commented as such at the time. Now they have finally thrown in the towel.

“Further to the announcement of 1 March 2017, Sky Network Television Limited and Vodafone Europe BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vodafone Group Plc, have now decided to terminate the sale and purchase agreement in relation to the proposed merger of SKY and Vodafone New Zealand,” said a Sky announcement.

“The parties have also decided to withdraw the appeal of the Commerce Commission decision regarding the proposed merger. SKY and Vodafone New Zealand will continue to work together to strengthen our commercial relationship for the benefit of the customers and the shareholders of our respective organisations.”

Elsewhere the Lions played their first test against the All Blacks. While most of the game was quite even, the All Blacks’ more clinical finishing meant they were always in front despite a spectacular try spanning the length of the field from the Lions. The pressure told in the final quarter, with the Lions’ desperation leading to an increasing number of mistakes, which the All Blacks capitalised on to win 30-15.


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