Spark CEO Jolie Hodson suggested deployment of new digital infrastructure in New Zealand will accelerate after its independent tower unit Connexa received approval from the nation’s competition regulator to acquire passive infrastructure from rival 2degrees.

In a statement, Hodson explained the deal will accelerate deployments as infrastructure sharing creates greater efficiencies.

Connexa closed a deal to acquire more than 1,100 towers from 2degrees for NZD1.1 billion ($692.5 million) in December 2022.

The acquisition is subject to approval from the Overseas Investment Office, which Spark noted is “well advanced at this stage”.

Spark reiterated it will not contribute equity to the acquisition, which will result in its shareholding in Connexa being cut from 30 per cent to about 17 per cent.

The Commerce Commission had highlighted a number of potential competition issues after an initial investigation.

Connexa was formed in October 2022 after Spark closed a deal to sell a 70 per cent stake in its tower business to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board for NZD900 million.

2degrees is owned by Macquarie Asset Management and Aware Super.