Brightstar must act fast to save EU share


The company doesn’t have a physical presence in European mobile phone distribution, but is addressing this urgent need through an acquisition strategy

Brightstar CEO Marcelo Claure was in the UK last week, but it was clear during our meeting that the trip was no holiday.

Claure (pictured) spoke openly about the need to restore Brightstar’s presence in the UK and Europe and said he has compiled a list of businesses he wants to acquire.

20:20 Mobile is seemingly at the top of his list, and the suggestion we got last week was that it was likely he would be making a visit to the distributor’s home town of Crewe during his stay.

If Claure does indeed head for Crewe, it’s unlikely he will merely turn up at the door, ask to have a look around and view the books.

Talks between the two are clearly at an advanced stage – some even claim, but for a few reluctant shareholders, the deal is now all but done.

And Claure did little to hide his interest. Refreshingly, he didn’t shy away from the fact 20:20 Mobile was one of a number of candidates identified both in the UK and in Europe. Almost teasingly, he admitted an offer has been made for one of them.

Was it 20:20 Mobile? We’ll have to wait and see because as Brightstar Europe’s bid for Data Select 18 months ago showed, talks and deals can break down at any time.

And Claure made it clear Data Select remains in his thoughts, stating pan-European and local distributors are being explored.

In any case, the need for Brighstar to re-establish itself in Europe sooner rather than later is paramount. Today, from a mobile phone distribution view, its physical presence is nil.

Tech Data Mobile will look to push on with mobile hard, as will BrightPoint parent Ingram Micro, so it can’t afford to wait.

Setting up from scratch is not an option, and neither is another joint venture. 20:20 Mobile is a perfect fit and, importantly, it is for sale.

Claure all but dismissed going down the IT avenue, and that leaves just 20:20 and Data Select as potential UK targets.