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Vodafone NZ and Sky agree merger terms

Telco Vodafone NZ has agreed a deal to merge with Sky, a major pay-television sports broadcaster in New Zealand.

The integrated telecommunications and media group will be 51-per-cent owned by Vodafone following a deal that will allow Sky to acquire all of the shares in the telco for a total purchase price of NZ$3.44bn (€2.16bn/$2.45bn).

The transaction must be approved by the companies’ shareholders. The directors of Sky “unanimously recommend” the deal, which is expected to close towards the end of this year.

Sky chief executive John Fellet said: “The combined group will offer exciting new packages with Sky’s premium entertainment content, Vodafone NZ’s communications and digital services of the future.”

The initial board of the combined group will feature nine directors – including five from Sky and four from Vodafone.

The chairman of Sky, Peter Macourt, will be the chairman of the board, while John Fellet will be appointed chief executive of media and content, reporting to Russell Stanners.

Last month, Sky agreed a five-season extension, from 2018 to 2022, to its rights deal with Australian rugby league competition the NRL, with the contract also including national team Test matches.