The third- and fifth-largest Australian broadband ISPs are set to merge following the announcement that Perth-based iiNet will acquire Adelaide-based Internode for AUD105 million (USD106 million) in a deal expected to be completed by the end of February 2012. The consolidation of privately-owned Internode would give iiNet an additional 260,000 subscribers including 190,000 broadband connections, and a further 36 DSLAM network exchanges, largely in South Australia and on the Eastern seaboard, writes ITNews.com. If completed, the deal will give iiNet a total of around 900,000 broadband customers, or around 16% of the market, to challenge rival SingTel Optus, which lies in second place in the sector behind incumbent PSTN operator Telstra. The sale agreement terms give Internode founder and majority shareholder Simon Hackett a 7.5% stake in iiNet, on condition that he cannot increase his stake for twelve months. Last month iiNet agreed to acquire Canberra-based ISP TransACT for AUD60 million.