Birch's Oddo: Primus Canada assets are a 'natural extension for our business'

Birch Communications has put the final touches on its acquisition of Canada's Primus, giving it an instant presence across key parts of the country.

Vincent Oddo, Birch


The service provider will immediately gain 250,000 business and consumer customers throughout Canada.

Birch and Primus provide complementary product portfolios, each offering industry-leading broadband internet, cloud-hosted PBX, dedicated data access, local phone, long distance and a variety of wholesale solutions.

While acquiring other service provider assets for Birch is nothing new, what's different about this deal is it's the first time in the CLEC's history that it has purchased an asset outside of its U.S. territory.

Along with Zayo Group, Birch now becomes part of a select group of providers that can serve customers across the U.S.-Canada border.

Vincent Oddo, CEO of Birch, told FierceTelecom in an interview that moving into Canada is a natural fit for the service provider.

"Bringing on all of those major lower tier markets in Canada like Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa are a perfect natural extension to our business," Oddo said. "We're already in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico and now to give us those major markets that are great cities with great growth potential for the future are all in one fell swoop a wonderful acquisition."  

But Birch did not go into the acquisition blindly. The service provider put out feelers to its existing customers and gauged their interest in having services available in Canada.

"We talked to our largest enterprise customers and a very high percentage of them were willing to give us business in the Canadian market they already have and they were giving to others," Oddo said. "We intend on leveraging that geographic border and leveraging business on both sides of it."

Oddo added that the "Birch brand will traverse the two countries, but on the consumer side, which is about 50 percent of the revenue of this asset acquisition, the consumer brand will remain as Primus because it's very well-known and thought of in Canada."

While the acquisition is new, Birch had been eyeing Primus Canada as a potential acquisition target as it was seeing growing demand from customers to get access into Canada. The service provider also was doing some service resale throughout parts of the country.

"We did know that there was demand so we we're looking at it," Oddo said. "In particular, we look for situations like this so a good company, good customers, but it was a little financially distressed so it was an easy decision for us because we have done things like this."

For more:
- see the release

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