The Cutting Room – Issue 410


That’s what Brightpoint chief of international operations Michaél Køehn told Mobile News in February last year, following the announcement of the merger of Danish firm Dangaard with US distributor Brightpoint.

With minimal overlap in the two firms’ geographical business interests or operational expertise, the merger forged the biggest distributor in the world.

Køehn made clear his intentions to enter the UK early on in the piece, saying the best way to enter such a mature market would be via acquisition rather than setting up as a greenfield site.

A Bright future in the UK

A little over a year later, the ambition has been realised, and Brightpoint will set foot on UK soil via its acquisition of data and IT kit distributor Hugh Symons Telecom.

So far, so good for Brightpoint – with roots dating back to 1971, Hugh Symons is a household name in the mobile industry and turned over £16 million in 2007 through its mobile, fixed-line and IT offerings to the B2B market.

It maintains a brand connection with counterpart Hugh Symons Communications, despite its sale to Carphone Warehouse in 2005. And in spite of difficulties at the end of 2006, including being dropped by Vodafone, Hugh Symons Communications has kept up a reputation for being one of the best distributors in the UK – indeed, the judges saw fit to award it best airtime business at the Mobile News Awards earlier this month.

Roping Hugh into the deal

Hugh Symons Telecom MD Hugh Roper is understood to have agreed to manage the company for the next three years; another shrewd move by Brightpoint. Roper has telecoms in the blood – his father Geoff Roper founded the business, and gave it his son’s first name.

So, two new US entrants in UK distribution, set to do things their own way. It will certainly test the old chestnut, continually trotted out by UK businesses, about ‘adding value’.

Brightstar, and now Brightpoint, will define their offers in this market on added value.

UK businesses must ensure they do the same.