07 Jun 2012
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Pressure on Telstra to confirm NZ plans

By Mike Borgfeldt

It’s been two full days since Australian telco Telstra confirmed to the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges that it is considering selling its New Zealand subsidiary, TelstraClear, having been approached with an offer by Vodafone.

The announcement followed a rumour posted on Twitter by business ISP Voyager, and came after speculation a week ago that Telstra may itself be looking to purchase Vodafone or Telecom.

That speculation has prompted many to ponder whether Telstra is looking to sell TelstraClear in order to clear the way for a Telecom takeover.

Australian analyst Paul Budde told Stuff a takeover of Telecom by a TelstraClear-free Telstra ‘made sense’, and was equally as likely as Telstra simply walking away from the market if the deal goes ahead.

In contrast, Forsyth Barr’s Guy Hallwright has told NBR a Telecom acquisition is ‘very unlikely’, as the company’s focus is currently on achieving growth in Asia.

As for the impact on consumers, Paul Brislen, chief executive of the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ), has stated in a blog post that the TelstraClear purchase ‘would certainly give Vodafone the firepower it needs to take on Telecom’.

"A fight at that level is never a bad thing,” Brislen says.

Either way, Telstra will want to confirm its plans as soon as possible, as the uncertainty won’t be doing its employees or customers any good.

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