In Canada, Distributel acquires Primus

Jan. 22, 2021
“Bringing Primus into the Distributel family will mean more options, increased innovation and better value for Canadians and ultimately a better alternative for our country,” said Matt Stein, CEO of Distributel.
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On January 19, Distributel Communications Limited (Toronto) announced that it has acquired Primus Telecommunications, one of Canada’s largest independent telecom providers. Distributel says the investment brings together the strengths of two prominent Canadian telecom companies to build an even stronger brand – offering residential, business and wholesale telecommunications services across the country.

“Bringing Primus into the Distributel family will mean more options, increased innovation and better value for Canadians and ultimately a better alternative for our country,” commented Matt Stein, CEO of Distributel. “We are thrilled to bring Primus under Canadian ownership and accelerate the pace of growth for both companies.”  

Distributel notes has been 100% Canadian-owned since its founding in 1988. “This is truly a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts,” added Stein. “Our two companies are a great fit with one another. Primus and Distributel were both early players in the competitive space, advocating for Canadians and delivering innovative products and services to a burgeoning industry. This combination allows us to extend that shared approach to even more consumers and businesses across the country.” 

As explained by the official press release announcing the transaction:

Adding Primus to its portfolio solidifies Distributel’s position as one of Canada’s leading independent telecommunications service providers. The combination brings extensive benefits to the customers of both organizations through greater network reach, with an expanded portfolio of complementary products and services available from coast to coast.  
The acquisition is accretive for both companies and was supported by PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance Inc. serving as financial advisors on the transaction. For its part, Distributel is excited to enhance its product range with Primus’ offerings which include a substantial cable footprint, the most advanced cloud-based business phone system in the market, a powerful and extensive portfolio of access services, and Telemarketing Guard, the industry’s leading call-screening technology. 
This investment will also expand Primus’ network and product set through Distributel’s capabilities including 1,000 competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) coverage areas, state-of-the-art SIP trunking, integrated Microsoft Teams unified communications products, and its leading-edge IP-based TV service. The company’s increased scale will be even more important as fibre connectivity to consumers’ homes advances throughout the country. 
Customers of Primus’ long-standing retail partnerships will also see increased value, with access to an extended set of products and services. 

“Canadians need competition now more than ever,” observed Distributel's Stein. “The country’s telecom landscape has become extremely difficult, as the incumbent carriers act with increased aggression in their efforts to fight CRTC rate decisions while continuing to charge high prices, to both independent carriers and consumers.”  

Stein also notes that the announced transaction further highlights these issues for foreign investors within the current environment, but said Distributel is up to the task.  

Stein added, “Acquiring Primus from U.S. based Fusion Connect materially increases our size and enables us to provide all Canadians with fair prices and even more valuable services. This will be further supported by the CRTC’s final decision on wholesale rates, which we expect imminently, and where we expect the Commission to uphold its initial 2019 ruling – a fair, balanced pricing decision designed to increase competition, value and innovation for all Canadians.” 

Stein said this substantial investment by Distributel was made in anticipation of the CRTC’s final ruling. The implementation of those rates, coupled with this acquisition, will allow Distributel to bring affordable, high-quality internet service to even more Canadians, said the operator "at a time when it has become absolutely critical to so many parts of their lives, including work, school and family," the company said.

Distributel notes the company was certified in Canada as a "Great Place to Work" in 2020 and was recently recognized one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers for 2021. Stein said the company is "thrilled to bring the Primus team onboard to continue to grow its strong culture and bring on some exceptional talent."

“People come first for us,” he concluded. “We have always believed in building strong, inclusive teams and empowering our people to do their best work. We look forward to the strength of our combined team through this acquisition; I can already see that our similar cultures are going to be an incredible fit with one another.”

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