AAPT is up for sale … yet again



blog Ah, AAPT. The perennial basket case of the Australian telecommunications industry. If its parent Telecom New Zealand had been prepared to invest in the company instead of treating it like a misbehaving Australian subsidiary, then it could have grown much larger and challenged Telstra and Optus. As it stands, the company has been put up for sale something like half a dozen times over the past decade and even had the ignominy of having its retail arm bought by iiNet, a fast-growing company it could have snapped up for peanuts just a few years before.

The Financial Review reports today that Telecom New Zealand is once again trying to offload the asset (when is it ever not?). You know the drill: Click here for the full article. Meanwhile, here’s a sample paragraph:

“Australian telecommunications company AAPT has been put up for auction by its parent company Telecom New Zealand.”

Personally, I don’t think there are a lot of buyers for AAPT at the sort of price tag which Telecom New Zealand would like to get for the company. Telstra would probably be prohibited from buying the telco under competition law (heck, the ACCC didn’t even approve of it buying Adam Internet), Optus has the money but doesn’t like spending it, iiNet, TPG and M2 probably have too much debt on their books for now, and Vodafone? Well, it’ll itself probably be up for sale soon. Perhaps NBN Co might take a look at AAPT, because of the company’s fibre assets, but I don’t think Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull would be too keen to splash the Government’s cash so soon after taking office. That leaves foreign firms … which have usually proven themselves unwilling to get into the Australian telco market.

And so the circle of AAPT’s problems goes around again … it’s too large to be easily sold, but it’s not growing, so Telecom New Zealand won’t invest in it. Bugger.


  1. Putting the debt level issue aside for a moment. AAPT’s intercapital fibre network would be the final piece in the puzzle for TPG to become a full vertically integrated Telco.

    From the DSLAM / GPON headend, all the way to Guam.

  2. Will TPG and VHA enter a bidding war, or do some sort of a deal to minimise the price of acquiring the AAPT fibre and then share it between them in some way as part of a wider win win agreement on their fibre and mobile network & mobile spectrum?

  3. Renai, TPG has almost paid off all their remaining debt. They have a very small amount (for companies) and the way they have been paying it off over the last 2 years I’d be suprised if it is not paid off by January 2014.

  4. >>That leaves foreign firms … which have usually proven themselves unwilling to get into the Australian telco market.

    Not counting Vodaphone, Hutchison Whampoa, Singtel or Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan ?
    Ignoring the departing TCNZ and the previous owner of Primus ?

    Not sure ‘usually’ or ‘unwilling’ are apposite.

    • I suspect you guys have got your credit card out ready to purchase some AAPT assets?

  5. Telecom NZ appeared to do zero due diligence when they bought network provider Powertel and merged them with AAPT – the network they bought was poorly maintained, in parts past the end of its useful life and by and large held together with chewing gum and rubber bands, as Powertel existed on a hand to mouth basis with perennial cashflow squeezes.
    Telecom NZ thought it was buying a DSLAM presence in Telstra exchanges to service AAPTs own consumer base when in fact it bought small DSLAMs serviciing Powertel’s own already dwindling customer base, which were already at capacity.
    Rather than concentrating on developing products customers actually want, AAPT (now run by Powertel) devoted its energy to fiddling around with crumbs from Google’s table and a half baked cloud solution, which even the big players such as Telstra have as a sideshow, not the core of their business.
    If Telecom NZ get $100m for AAPT they will be doing well.

  6. Other the duplicate Powertel MAN, aapt fibre is just IRU Optus pair with few years left so not that valuable.

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