Australia’s business telecom industry has witness a significant piece of consolidation as carrier M2 has announced the purchase of Primus Australia for $AUD 192.4 million (approximately $200 million).

Primus Australia’s services provider, iPrimus, offers both Internet and telecom services across the country for both end consumers and businesses customers. The deal will see M2 obtain Primus’ 165,000 customers, 500 staff and national network technology, which includes data centers and network infrastructure in 66 cities nationwide.

The Primus network has been cited by the firm as a key differentiator that has helped it bring in a number of new business wins, including a three-year multimillion-dollar deal to provide Payless Shoes’ network, and it will be a key draw for M2.

Commenting on the deal, Peter D. Aquino, who is chairman, president and CEO of PTGi (Primus Telecom Group Incorporated), said:

The successful sale of Primus Australia to M2, a local operator in a consolidating market, is a transforming transaction for both companies.  The net proceeds from the sale of Primus Australia represent a significant outcome of our strategic review process.  We will assist M2 during the upcoming transition period, and ensure that our customers and employees have a smooth handoff to an experienced M2 leadership team.

Geoff Horth, the CEO of M2, said that the acquisition would strengthen both companies’ offerings:

We are delighted to bring Primus Australia into the M2 Group.  On behalf of the company, I look forward to welcoming the Primus Team and customers to the M2 Group.

The companies have revealed that the deal is expected to go through in the second quarter of the year, barring any hitches.

The acquisition is the latest in a series of deals made by M2 as it strengthens its business. Previous firms snapped up have included Clear Telecoms, in February 2011 for $24.5 million and mobile services reseller eDirect.

PTGi has also announced that it will split Primus Canada into two businesses; separating its data center business from its telecom services.