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Vodafone NZ buys remaining stake in retail joint venture

By Zach Thompson
Thu 19 May 2022

Vodafone New Zealand has purchased the remaining 50% stake in the specialist joint venture (JV) with private equity company Millennium Corp.

Created to operate the company’s network of retail stores throughout Aotearoa, the transaction will see these 52 stores sold to Vodafone New Zealand, which Infratil and Brookfield Asset Management own.

Vodafone will also take on the employment contracts for the joint venture’s team members, of which there are over 400.

Millennium Corp new ventures and Vodafone joint venture director Ajay Sharma says that the transaction is the culmination of a fruitful and deep partnership that has delivered both organisations significant value.

“Millennium Corp and Vodafone New Zealand have enjoyed a 26-year strategic partnership in the retail and business markets channel space,” Sharma says.

“Today is a hugely exciting day for both businesses as we take the next step with our respective strategies.

“I’m exceptionally proud of our people, our partnership approach, and the organisation our teams have built from the very first Digital Mobile store in 1997 through to the significant portfolio of 52 Vodafone retail stores that our highly skilled sales, service, and support teams run today.

“We have always taken an active approach to our investments, and we have supported Vodafone to deliver a step-change in market share, productivity, and people capability, as well as a world-class, unified brand experience with digital at the heart of the store,” says Sharma.

The purchase comes after Vodafone increased its shareholding from 25% in 2019 to create a 50-50 join venture governed by a Board made up of three directors from Vodafone NZ and three from Millenium Corp.

“We formed the initial joint venture to bolster our retail capabilities and provide customer excellence when we did not have the in-house capability to do so,” Vodafone New Zealand chief executive Jason Paris says.

“We strategically selected Millennium as a trusted and proven retail partner who shared our high standards to help take our retail experience to the next level.

“The partnership was always set up with a view that at some point in the future, as our customer care and omnichannel strategy evolved, Vodafone may bring it back in-house, which is what we’ve announced today.

“This is one step in the evolution of our broader customer care strategy, as we look to provide consistently great customer experience across all touchpoints, from in-store to on-call to online.

“The partnership has been a huge success, with Millennium being instrumental in building better retail capabilities and delivering a much better and more consistent customer experience.

"Millennium have been an outstanding partner for many years, and we look forward to working with them on other future opportunities.”

Vodafone NZ also recently announced it is extending its collaboration with IBM and MATRIXX Software to provide enterprise-wide digital commerce for all post-pay, pre-pay, wholesale and Internet of Things customers.

“While Vodafone takes the next step in its retail journey, we will be focusing on upweighting our activity in the private equity space, including a suite of new growth opportunities with our portfolio companies, that combine our connected digital technology, branded retail and supply chain, logistics and transport services,” Sharma adds.

“With operations in 18 markets across Oceania, our scale, channel reach, and access to macro-operating insights is rapidly evolving and we look forward to continuing to share this expertise with our customers.”

Vodafone New Zealand will take full ownership of Vodafone retail after a six-month transition period to ensure a seamless handover.

It will continue to partner with Millennium Corporation in other areas such as value-added supply chain to retail, enterprise and online.

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