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M2 acquires Clear Telecoms

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M2 Telecommunications yesterday announced to the Australian Stock Exchange that it had acquired Clear Telecoms.

The acqusition covers customer contracts, systems, brands and intellectual property. According to M2 Telecom’s announcement, Clear Telecoms had 20,000 SME customers Australia-wide and generated $70 million in annual revenue.

M2 is to pay $24.5 million for the acquisition, which will take its own revenue past $500 million annually.

Clear Telecoms was one of a number of service providers named in a Four Corners investigative report in late 2010 (program transcript here), in which the program accused many small telcos of tying customers into expensive bundled contracts using the lure of “free” equipment such as plasma televisions. The report claimed the alleged scams were backed by finance contracts managed by a division of Macquarie Bank (which is not related to Macquarie Telecom).

In a Federal Court case launched in 2008, the Australian Competition and Consumer (ACCC) included Clear Telecoms as a respondent in proceedings over hidden contracts and misleading conduct. The case is not expected to reach court until 2012. ®

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