Morrison & Co is teaming up with a group of Australian investors to buy 49 per cent of Telstra's mobile towers business, which owns more than 8000 mobile towers across Australia.
The Wellington-headquartered investment bank will manage the investment of a consortium involving Australia's sovereign wealth fund, The Future Fund, Sunsuper and the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC).
The deal values the entire Telstra unit at A$5.9 billion ($6.34b)
"We are pleased to have supported the consortium to secure this investment in essential mobile connectivity for local communities across the country," Morrison & Co chief executive Marko Bogoievski said in a statement.
"Telstra InfraCo Towers should deliver consistent long-term returns for our investors, supported by strong data growth and rising consumer and enterprise demand for mobile capacity and coverage. We see future opportunities to develop both greenfield and in-situ assets, including 5G network deployments, to provide efficient and reliable access for all customers."
Morrison & Co is best known in New Zealand for its management of Infratil, the $5.5b infrastructure investor.
The funds investments are increasingly focused on digital assets, including Australasian data centre business CDC and Vodafone New Zealand. However, the fund, listed on both the NZX and ASX, is not taking part in the Telstra deal.
In its client newsletter, Craigs Investment Partners wrote: "We understand the return expectations for the investment sit below Infratil's 12 per cent international hurdle so was not considered for the portfolio" however it was an "impressive deal for the [Morrison & Co] team that expands their insights in [the] telco space which will no doubt influence the NZ landscape in the future."
The deal is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2021, the parties said.
Telstra said in a statement that the deal would lead to net proceeds of A$2.8b (NZ$3b), approximately half of which would be returned to shareholders in 2022.
In late 2020 the company announced it planned to split itself into three separate businesses, marking the biggest change in the company since it was privatised in 1997.
The T22 corporate restructure strategy would divide its existing infrastructure business InfraCo into InfraCo Fixed, a fixed lines business, and InfraCo Towers, the business being part sold in today's deal.
ServeCo would manage its active mobile business as well as radio access and spectrum assets.