Brightstar: ‘20:20 Mobile is not a done deal, despite reports’

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Company’s boss reveals he has held talks with Data Select owner Peter Jones, with the distributor being another he continues to look at

Brightstar CEO and founder Marcelo Claure says the proposed acquisition of 20:20 Mobile is not a done deal – despite reports to the contrary.

Claure (pictured), who was speaking exclusively to Mobile News in Barcelona last month, admitted discussions are ongoing and he has met staff at 20:20 Mobile’s Crewe office. However, he said no decision has yet been made.

He also confirmed he has held talks with Data Select owner Peter Jones and Data Select is a distributor he is continuing to look at.

Claure said: “20:20 is not a done deal, despite what some are saying. As I’ve said before, 20:20 is one we are looking at, and Data Select is another.

“Before we do anything, we like to get to know everyone involved, and before we make an acquisition we like to meet employees. It took a year of getting to know Tech Data before we agreed the joint venture.

“We’ve looked at every company. We are sitting on $1 billion of liquidity so we have to make sure we don’t make a mistake.”

But Claure said a decision has yet to be made on its distribution strategy, given the success of its other businesses during 2012.

In 2012, the firm’s revenues topped $10 billion (£6.6 billion). Claure said 90 per cent of the firm’s business comes from distribution, but this accounts for just 50 per cent of its profits.

He said its insurance business grew 600 per cent last year and its buy-back businesses, which include MPX in the UK and various partnerships in the US and Japan, grew 1,000 per cent.

Brightstar has, however, begun trading as a handset distributor in Europe, having set up a distribution centre in Germany in February.

Claure said the firm has already agreed a distribution deal with Samsung among others and has hired a number of former employees to manage and run the operations of the business.

He said: “With regards to Europe, do we want to buy a small bank, an insurance company, more firms like MPX, or do we want to buy more distribution companies? That’s why we are taking our time to work out what it is we want to be in Europe.

“Everyone thought we were out of our minds when we started the JV, and in no time we became the leader in the UK. So we will continuously look to see which platform we can leverage, and if not we’ll just do it alone.”

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