Business-to-business communications company

Primus Telecommunications


said Wednesday that computer giant



is investing $50 million in the company as a part of a broad strategic alliance.

The deal comes as part of McLean, Va.-based Primus' efforts to upgrade its global broadband network, which is designed to help small- to mid-sized companies develop their Web-based businesses. The company has

inked deals with other B2B Web companies as part of that strategy.

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Under the terms of the alliance, Palo Alto, Calif.-based H-P will provide technological support for Primus, which intends to build global data-warehousing centers in the U.K., Germany, France, Australia and Canada by year-end. The first 10,000-square-foot center will be built in the U.K. by June, said John DePodesta, co-founder of Primus and executive vice president, in an interview. Another four centers will built around the world by the end of the year, DePodesta said.


The deal really validates much of what we're about," DePodesta said. The investment by a blue-chip name like H-P signals that "Primus is emerging as a true global player."

"With its secure broadband data network, established distribution channels and more than 2 million customers in the world's major markets, Primus is an ideal partner for H-P," said Craig White, senior vice president and general manager of

H-P Technology Finance

, in a statement.

The deal comes on the heels of solid day Tuesday on Wall Street for Primus. Paul Saferstein, analyst with

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

, introduced a price target on the company of $81 on the basis of its strong growth prospects. Primus shares closed up 4 13/16, or 11%, at 47 1/2.