Vodafone New Zealand bought out its joint venture partner Millennium to assume full ownership of 52 branded retail outlets in the country, agreeing to take over the employment contracts of the JV’s more than 400 staff.

In a statement, Vodafone noted it purchased the remaining 50 per cent stake in the venture from the private equity company, without disclosing the price paid.

Vodafone will take full control after a six-month transition period to ensure a smooth handover. CEO Jason Paris explained the JV was formed 26 years ago to improve its retail capabilities and the partnership was set up with a view it may bring the venture back in house at some point.

“This is one step in the evolution of our broader customer care strategy, as we look to provide consistently great customer experience across all touchpoints.”

Vodafone increased its stake from 25 per to 50 per cent in 2019, with each partner naming three directors to the board.

The New Zealand operator is owned by Infratil and Brookfield Asset Management.