Broadband provider UPC Ireland is to acquire Irish-owned wifi company Bitbuzz for an undisclosed sum thought to be in the region of €5-€6 million.

Bitbuzz, which is headquartered in Dublin, specialises in offering wifi to the tourism, retail and leisure sectors, notably hotels and cafes in Ireland and Britain.

It recently won contracts with stores operated by the Cork-based wholesale group Musgrave, Insomnia and Costa Coffee.

UPC Ireland chief executive Magnus Ternsjö confirmed the deal at a media lunch hosted by the company on Thursday.

He declined to disclose further details of the acquisition but said it would be a cash deal and that the wifi service would continue to operate under the Bitbuzz brand.

Bitbuzz founders Shane Deasy and Alex French are to leave the company following the acquisition.

Providing internet services via wifi has become increasingly competitive with a number of high-profile companies vying for market share.

UPC’s move is designed to strengthen the company’s presence in the hospitality, health and education markets, where Bitbuzz is prominent.

With Bitbuzz’s market position and UPC’s fixed-line capacity, the deal is perceived to deliver significant synergies.

Bitbuzz passed something of a milestone when revenues break the €1 million mark in the first half of this year.

Its managing director Shane Deasy said recently the company planned to hire about a dozen more staff by the end of the year as part of an expansion of its activities in Ireland and Britain.