Brightstar buys £54m Dutch distributor MCC

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Brightstar Europe to take charge of Dutch logistics firm MCC as part of joint-venture parent’s broader purchase of Triade Group

Brightstar Europe has purchased Dutch handset distributor Mobile Communication Company (MCC) for around €65 million (£54m), handing it a logistics base, as well as supplier and customer ties in the Netherlands and Belgium.

MCC has handset distribution contracts with Nokia, Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony Ericsson and HP in those markets, and is also a significant supplier of personal navigation devices, smartphones, netbooks, notebooks, accessories and e-reading devices to retail channels.

Brightstar will bring to bear its BlackBerry distribution arrangement with Research in Motion, and joint venture partner Tech Data will bring a range of contracts with PC makers.

It is Brightstar Europe’s most significant purchase to date, and follows its May acquisition of AKL Telecommunications in Austria.

Brightstar Europe president Rod Millar (pictured) said: “MCC has an excellent reputation in both the Dutch and Belgian markets with a skilled workforce, a strong vendor portfolio and a loyal customer base.”

The deal is part of Brightstar joint venture partner Tech Data’s purchase of MCC parent Triade Group in the Netherlands for a fee of around €145 million, of which approximately 45 per cent relates to MCC (€65.25m), which is acquired directly by Brightstar Europe.

MCC will operate as a separate entity, within the Brightstar Europe joint venture. MCC chief executive Huub Lamers will lead the Benelux management team, reporting to Millar.

Ronald Albers remains as country manager for Belgium.

Lamers said: “MCC will play an important role in further establishing Brightstar Europe in the region whilst maintaining MCC’s market position in both countries.

“Our customers and vendors will enjoy the benefits of being an integral part of a larger business. Our employees will benefit from enhanced career opportunities within an international organisation.”

Tech Data’s acquisition of Triade expands its product and channel portfolios in the Benelux region and Denmark. It adds around 450 staff to its books.

In the year to January 31, 2010, Triade recorded sales of €929 million, with 35 per cent from consumer electronics, 39 percent mobility products and 26 percent IT products.

Tech Data chief executive Robert Dutkowsky said: “This major transaction validates our diversification strategy, moving Tech Data into high growth, specialty product categories, and will contribute to achieving our stated financial goals.

“The addition of Triade’s portfolio of companies complements and strengthens our existing European broadline business, accelerates our entry into Europe’s consumer electronics market, and expands our Brightstar Europe joint venture’s footprint.”

The acquisition is subject to approval of the EU regulatory authorities. It is expected to be cleared in the third quarter of 2010.

Brightstar Europe has sales offices in 16 European countries and logistics centres in nine.

At the same time, Brightstar itself has expanded its RIM deal to Hong Kong, and also recruited former Motorola executive Oscar Rojas as president of its Latin America region.

BlackBerry smartphones will be available from a wide range of retail outlets throughout Hong Kong.

Brightstar will provide supportto users who have purchased BlackBerry smartphones from its channel partners, and will work with RIM on product training, in-store marketing support and point-of-sale materials to all Brightstar channel partners.

Strategy and operation of Brightstar’s 20 Latin American businesses will be handed to Rojas, meanwhile, who worked with Motorola for 17 years, latterly as corporate vice president of enterprise solutions in the region.

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