PwC NZ Equity Market Transaction of the Year
This award went to what the judges described as the largest transaction in the local equity market in 2019: Infratil's NZ$400m raise to partially fund the acquisition of Vodafone. The issuer was Infratil and the sole lead manager was UBS.
"The transaction was an efficient capital raise that widened the register while also including existing holders," the judges said. "Market reception was positive and the general market view was that the deal was professional and fair."
The sale of Vodafone NZ for $3.4 billion was the largest M&A transaction in New Zealand for more than15 years and featured in three wins at this year's Infinz ceremony, as it also figured in the M&A and Debt Deal awards.
The players in the thick of the deal say it was something of a balancing act, with several unique challenges.
Infratil CFO Phillippa Harford says, "prior to entering into a binding transaction with Vodafone Group, Infratil was required to have certainty of funding, and the full equity underwrite that was provided by UBS New Zealand was a significant part of delivering that certainty.
"As part of the equity raising process, Infratil balanced the desire to direct a significant proportion of the equity raising towards existing shareholders while also providing the opportunity to introduce new supportive institutional and retail shareholders to its share register."
UBS country manager Chris Simcock says, "historically, Infratil had relatively low levels of institutional shareholder ownership, which made an equity raising of this size challenging.
"It was crucial that both the equity raising and the acquisition rationale for Vodafone NZ were clearly articulated to attract new investors onto the share register and ensure a strong level of support from existing holders," Simcock says.
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"It was pleasing to see the New Zealand equity markets functioning well, enabling Vodafone NZ to come under partial New Zealand ownership."