Vodafone New Zealand has purchased the remaining 50 per cent stake in the specialist joint venture (JV) with private equity company Millennium Corp, created to operate the network of Vodafone New Zealand retail stores throughout Aotearoa.
The transaction, for an undisclosed sum, will see the 52 Vodafone-branded retail stores sold to Infratil and Brookfield Asset Management-owned, Vodafone New Zealand. Vodafone will also take on the employment contracts for the joint venture’s 400 plus team members.
Vodafone previously increased its shareholding from 25 per cent in 2019, creating a 50-50 joint venture governed by a Board comprising of three directors from Vodafone New Zealand and three from Millennium Corp.
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. 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.
Vodafone New Zealand Chief Executive, Jason Paris, says: “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. 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 on-line.
“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.”
Sharma continues: “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.
“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. They will continue to work in partnership with Millennium Corporation in other areas including value-added supply chain to retail, enterprise and online.