**Editor's Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in Q2 2013.
Birch Communications has closed its purchase of Lightyear Network Solutions, the company's 18th acquisition.
"This acquisition strengthens the breadth and scope of the Birch IP network. The addition of these assets, which are natural extensions to our current Birch products and services, greatly enhance our hosted PBX, SIP trunking, VoIP-based services and carrier services (wholesale) product offerings," said Vincent Oddo, Birch president and CEO.
The acquisition gives Birch new markets in Kentucky and expands the Birch IP footprint to 11 states. Overall, Birch now provides service to customers in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Lightyear said in May that is was dissolving and would be liquidated as part of a $22 million buyout by Birch. Lightyear had been struggling financially for a while. Its 2012 annual report acknowledged that it had "incurred significant losses since inception. The company showed a net loss of $2.3 million for 2012 and said on April 1 it would start looking for a buyer.
Birch said earlier this year that it would bring on all of Lightyear's 140 employees. Lightyear, under the leadership of Sherm Henderson, had been a well-known telecom reseller since 1993.
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