Mobile and accessories distributor 20:20 Mobile has clinched a deal to supply mobiles to digital retail giant Shop Direct.
The contract sees the Crewe-based distributor become Shop Direct’s supplier to its digital department stores Very.co.uk, Littlewoods and ISME, which between them deliver combined annual sales of over £1.7bn to more than 10.5 million customers. 20:20 Mobile will supply the retailer with high-end Samsung, Sony and BlackBerry devices.
This deal is the latest in a number of high profile contracts which 20:20 Mobile has won this year. These include a fulfillment deal with Sainsbury’s, which supports the supermarket’s roll out of Phone Shops across its superstores. It has also signed a deal to supply mobile phones to Morrisons, as part of the retailer’s plans to expand its main aisle mobile offering. The distributor is also understood to be supplying Sim-only handsets to Argos as part of a trial the online retailer is running ahead of the possible launch of an MVNO.
20:20 Mobile UK MD James Browning said: ‘Our partnership with Shop Direct is a reflection of the continued growth 20:20 Mobile is seeing though our comprehensive value-led approach. We are pleased once again to have secured a long-term agreement with a major brand like Shop Direct thanks to our robust proposition.’
This latest deal comes as speculation continues on whether 20:20 Mobile is to be sold to US distribution giant Brightstar Corporation. Talks between the distributor’s owner equity investor Doughty Hanson and Brightstar began late last year but a deal is yet to be signed. 20:20 had been confident that a deal would have been in place by the end of March, but talks have rumbled on into the subsequent weeks.
Sources said the distributor has reassured suppliers and clients that the sale will go ahead, with delays attributed to last minute wrangling on price. One source close to 20:20 Mobile said: ‘Talks are continuing with Brightstar with the expectation of a sale occurring in the near future.’
He added: ‘Brightstar had been looking at an alternative strategy of buying up a number of smaller distributors across Europe rather than take on 20:20 Mobile. But that doesn’t seem to be happening since that approach would require major integration. Whereas 20:20 Mobile is a much more attractive option since it already has an established distribution network across Europe and the Middle East.’