3/04/2023·1 min to read
Simpson Grierson assists Microsoft to navigate complex OIO consent
We’re pleased to have assisted Microsoft in the successful Overseas Investment Office consent application to buy 6.5 hectares of freehold New Zealand land to create a $180 million data centre.
Consent was granted under the Overseas Investment Act’s Benefit to New Zealand test, as the Ministers considered that the data centre construction will bring significant capital into Aotearoa, creating 50 full-time roles and 300 temporary jobs during construction.
Real Estate Partner, Tara Wylie says: “The New Zealand foreign investment regime is highly technical and has been subject to substantial change in recent years, so assisting Microsoft to navigate this process was very rewarding.”
“While Microsoft, as a global corporation, is obviously very familiar with international investment, the New Zealand foreign investment regime is unique, in particular the way the ‘investor test’ and the ‘benefit to New Zealand’ test operate.
“Due to the highly complex nature of the Overseas Investment Act, we often assist other law firms who do not have overseas investment expertise, providing advice on applications, legislative exemptions and practicalities across a whole range of sectors, including commercial, industrial, forestry and residential,” says Ms Wylie.
Tara Wylie is Simpson Grierson’s representative on the Overseas Investment Office’s Legal Reference Group, where practitioners from a number of high user firms meet with the OIO on a regular basis and discuss legal and practical issues relating to applications and implementation of the Act.
The land is currently a vacant site, ready for development, although at the time of obtaining consent, the acquisition remains conditional. Simpson Grierson Consultant, Michael Wood, and Senior Associate, Man Sum Chiu, have been advising Microsoft on related real estate matters. All three acted for Microsoft on the OIO consent and acquisitions of its data centre sites in 2019.