Melbourne-based telco Vocus failed to find a buyer willing to pay the asking price for its New Zealand business. Unofficially the company was said to be looking for A$500 million. That’s money it needs to pay off the cost of acquisitions made during its rapid expansion. The company has debts of more than $A1 billion.

The New Zealand businesses were all picked up during that expansion. Most were acquired in 2015. IN that year Vocus merged with M2, a rival Australian telco. At the time M2 owned the New Zealand brands; Callplus, Slingshot, Orcon and Flip. Other New Zealand assets include what was previously known as FX Networks, some data centres, a voice-over-IP service provider and Switch, an energy retailer.

Vocus set itself a tight sale deadline. When the sale was announced last October, Vocus said it wanted the deal to complete by June 2018.

Given that some of the most likely buyers would face lengthy regulatory approval times, that reduced the number of possible candidates. At one point Spark expressed an interest, but was stymied by the need for approval. There was little chance of the company getting clearance in time for Vocus’ deadline.

Other potential buyers identified included Tauranga-based Trustpower and 2degrees.

Vocus released an ASX filing on Tuesday. It says the New Zealand business had a number of bids. However, “In the board’s view, none of these offers appropriately reflected the fundamental and strategic value of Vocus NZ nor provided sufficient certainty of funding and execution.”

The company says it has reached an agreement with its lenders to extend its existing debt.