OIO approves NZ Bus sale

by Sol Dolor 04 Oct 2019

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has cleared the acquisition of NZ Bus by an Australian-owned company.

The overseas investment was scrutinised under Overseas Investment Act 2005 because it involved significant business assets worth more than $100m. The deal also involved sensitive land under the act, including land used for bus depots of NZ Bus in Lower Hutt, Wellington, and Auckland.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts advised private equity Next Capital. Funds managed by Next Capital own NZB Finco, which is acquiring NZ Bus for a purchase price of between $125m and $145m.

Infratil was counselled by Russell McVeagh. Infratil owns Swift Transport, which in turn owns NZ Bus.

The OIO said that Next Capital has experience in the bus transport sector in both Australia and New Zealand.

NZB Finco said that it expects to use its industry experience to grow and improve NZ Bus. It also said that it plans to upgrade the Auckland and Wellington bus depots of NZ Bus, resulting in added jobs.

The MinterEllisonRuddWatts team was headed by corporate partner Mark Forman and baking partners Steve Gallaugher and Tom Fail. Forman handled the M&A aspects of the deal, while Gallaugher and Fail handled financing matters.

The Russell McVeagh team was led by partner Mei Fern Johnson and special counsel Gareth Worthington and Debbie Booth.