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BlackRock takes $NZ250m taste of Telecom NZ

Bigger bite or placeholder for coming attractions?

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New York investment giant BlackRock Inc has stepped into the New Zealand telecos market taking a five per cent stake in Telecom New Zealand.

The $NZ250 million stake was revealed on Friday via a stock exchange filing and involved 96 million shares built up through 16 subsidiaries.

BlackRock is now part of the top five largest shareholders in the carrier which recently received the green light to separate into retail and wholesale operations.

The split allows the wholesale entity, Chorus, the ability to build the majority of New Zealand's nationwide fibre network. Once separated, Chorus will retain the copper network assets and the majority of exchange buildings, while Telecom will remain a retail business comprising the mobile network, the company's international businesses and its share in Southern Cross Cable, the fibre cable linking New Zealand, Australia and the US.

It is unclear what BlackRock’s intentions are at this stage with analysts speculating it may be an anchor stake in an impending takeover.

In last month’s quarterly report BlackRock, said it had US$3.66 trillion of global assets under management. It’s client base includes corporate, public, union and industry pension plans, governments, insurance companies, third-party mutual funds, endowments, foundations, charities, sovereign wealth funds, banks and individuals. ®

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