Primus sells BlackIron data centres to Rogers


Rogers Communications has significantly increased its ability to offer data services to organizations with the purchase of Primus Telecommunications BlackIron Data division.

Rogers said Wednesday that the deal for eight data centres in five cities across the country is worth $200 million.

The purchase will let Rogers Business Solutions enhance its suite of enterprise-level data centre and cloud computing services, Roger said in a statement.  Canadian businesses will benefit from a single provider able to ensure end-to-end security and reliability of mission-critical business applications, it said.

“The cloud continues to enable businesses to innovate and evolve in a dynamic market,” said Terry Canning, senior vice-president of Rogers Business Solutions. This acquisition presents the cableco with a significant growth opportunity in the business-to-business market that aligns with its overall enterprise strategy,” he said.

The move also brings Rogers closer to rivals Bell Canada and Telus Corp. in offering data centre services. Major communications providers are turning to data centre services to broaden their offerings to businesses beyond telecommunications.

BlackIron has data centres in Toronto, Ottawa, London, Edmonton and Vancouver.

It recently opened a 50,000 sq. ft. Tier III data centre in Markham, Ont. According to the Uptime Institute, which created the yardstick, a Tier III centre offers multiple electrical delivery paths to provide greater redundancy.

The BlackIron division was created by Primus Canada — which is a division of U.S.-based Primus Telecommunications Group — only six months ago. But the parent company has been in financial trouble in the last three quarters. In the fourth quarter of 2012 it lost $9.1 million on revenue of $63 million. For 2012 the company had a profit of $27 million on $260 million in revenue. During the year Primus sold its Australian operations for about $203 million.
SaaS provider saves with BlackIron

When the 2012 results were released last month Primus executive chairman Peter Aquino said 2012 was a “pivotal year”  for the combined group. The company refocused operations on North America, applying the proceeds from the Australia sale to the repurchase of a majority of its notes to reduce debt.
Primus Canada remains a provider of home and business telecom services.
In an emailed response to questions, Rogers [TSX: RCI.A] said the deal came about now bedause Primus initiated the sale. The timing fit with Rogers’ plans to expand its business solutions. There continues to be a demand by Canadian businesses for hosted data services, the statement added, and Rogers believes BlackIron is poised for growth.


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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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