Brightstar expected to make move to acquire 20:20 Mobile Group

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Deal to purchase Doughty Hanson’s 45 per cent stake in rival distributor could be completed within the next month

Doughty Hanson last week refused to comment on speculation it is close to selling its 45 per cent stake in 20:20 Mobile Group to rival distributor Brightstar.

Brightstar and 20:20 Mobile also refused to comment, but sources close to 20:20 claim a deal could be completed within the next month.

In February, Mobile News reported private equity firm Doughty Hanson was reviewing its investments and was considering selling the Crewe-based company – something sources at 20:20 have since admitted.

Brightstar came close to acquiring 20:20 Mobile’s UK rival Data Select 18 months ago, only for the deal to collapse.

Speculation the firm might look at 20:20 Mobile increased significantly in July after Brightstar sold its share of Brightstar Europe to Tech Data for around £106 million – ending the five-year joint venture.

Brightstar chairman and CEO Marcelo Claure (pictured) said at the time the firm would subsequently focus on growing its European business and geographic footprint through organic growth and strategic acquisitions as a fully owned subsidiary.

Acquiring 20:20 would give Brightstar instant access to around 13 European markets including Portugal,

Germany, Switzerland, the Benelux countries and Spain, where it claims to be the market leader for handset and accessories distribution. The firm also has a presence in Dubai.

Meanwhile, it is understood Brightstar Europe UK and Ireland managing director Jim Michel and Brightstar Europe president Rod Miller will remain with Tech Data as part of the JV buyout.

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