Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers’) is acquiring a 70% interest in Spark New Zealand’s mobile towers business for NZ$900m (€548.5m).

Under the terms of the transaction, which values Spark’s TowerCo business at NZ$1.2bn, Spark New Zealand has entered into a 15-year agreement with TowerCo (plus rights of renewal) to secure access to existing and new towers, with an expansion programme over the next 10 years.

“We are pleased to have formed this strategic partnership with Ontario Teachers’ – a high-calibre investor with a long-term partnering focus and significant experience managing a portfolio of infrastructure investments globally, including within Australia and New Zealand,” Spark CEO Jolie Hodson said.

Spark’s TowerCo business is a leading New Zealand towers business with approximately 1,263 sites.

Hodson said: “As part of the deal, we have committed a substantial build programme to TowerCo, with 670 sites to be built over the next decade.

Hodson said Spark retained a 30% stake in TowerCo, ensuring it stayed as a key strategic partner as the business grows.

Bruce Crane, senior managing director and head of Asia Pacific infrastructure and natural resources at Ontario Teachers’ said the Spark Towers investment built the plan’s long track record of investing in superior businesses in New Zealand and would draw on its deep experience investing in digital infrastructure businesses globally.

Spark New Zealand chair, Justine Smyth said the transaction will deliver proceeds of NZ$900m, “enabling direct shareholder returns and investment in future growth opportunities that will accelerate Spark’s transition from traditional telecommunications to higher growth digital services”.

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