Vodafone New Zealand has bought out its joint venture partner in the network of 52 Vodafone-branded retail stores throughout Aotearoa.
Millennium Corp and Vodafone New Zealand formed the retail and business markets partnership 26 years ago.
Vodafone NZ, which increased its shareholding in the JV from 25 per cent to 50 per cent in 2019, will also take over the employment contracts for the joint venture’s 400 plus employees.
Millennium Corp New Ventures and Vodafone Joint Venture director Ajay Sharma said the transaction was the culmination of a "fruitful and deep" partnership that had delivered both organisations significant value.
"Today is a hugely exciting day for both businesses as we take the next step with our respective strategies," Sharma said.
"I’m exceptionally proud of our people, our partnership approach, and the organisation our teams have built from the very first Digital Mobile store in 1997 through to the significant portfolio of 52 Vodafone retail stores that our highly skilled sales, service, and support teams run today."
“We have always taken an active approach to our investments, and we have supported Vodafone to deliver a step-change in market share, productivity, and people capability, as well as a world-class, unified brand experience with digital at the heart of the store."
Vodafone New Zealand chief executive Jason Paris said the initial joint venture was formed to bolster Vodafone's retail capabilities and provide customer excellence when the company did not have the in-house capability to do so itself.
"We strategically selected Millennium as a trusted and proven retail partner who shared our high standards, to help take our retail experience to the next level," Paris said.
“The partnership was always set up with a view that at some point in the future, as our customer care and omnichannel strategy evolved, Vodafone may bring it back in house, which is what we’ve announced today."
The move was one step in the evolution of Vodafone NZ's broader customer care strategy as the telco looked to provide a consistently great customer experience across all touchpoints, Paris said.
“The partnership has been a huge success, with Millennium being instrumental in building better retail capabilities and delivering a much better and more consistent customer experience. Millennium have been an outstanding partner for many years, and we look forward to working with them on other future opportunities.”
Sharma said Millennium would now be focusing on "upweighting" its activity in the private equity space, including a suite of new opportunities with its portfolio companies that combined connected digital technology, branded retail and supply chain, logistics and transport services.
“With operations in 18 markets across Oceania, our scale, channel reach, and access to macro-operating insights is rapidly evolving and we look forward to continuing to share this expertise with our customers," he said.
Vodafone New Zealand will take full ownership of Vodafone retail after a six-month transition period.
In 2019, Vodafone NZ extended its retail reach through a partnership with the Noel Leeming chain of stores.