Distributor 20:20 Mobile’s long awaited sale to US distribution giant Brightstar Corporation is close to completion, rival distribution sources claim.
The deal has been sealed between private equity investor Doughty Hanson which owns 20:20 Mobile and Brightstar Corp, although it is unclear when it will be formally announced.
Once signed, the takeover will see Brightstar Corporation poised to extend its reach into Europe via 20:20 Mobile’s extensive network of businesses which run across 14 countries which include Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Portugal and the UK.
The company has been looking for a foothold in Europe since it sold its share of Brightstar Europe last year.
The sale will see the further consolidation of the mobile distribution industry which has already seen Brightpoint bought by Ingram Micro in November last year and Tech Data taking full ownership of Brightstar Europe in September 2012 after buying out Brightstar Corporation’s 50% share.
It is unclear at this stage if there will be any senior management changes at 20:20 Mobile as part of the sale. The 20:20 management team is led by chief executive Meinie Oldersma (pictured, above right) whilst the UK and central European division is overseen by UK MD James Browning (pictured, above left).
Brightstar Corporation has been continuing to recruit staff in the UK to the rump business that was left after it sold its 50% share of Brightstar Europe to joint venture partner Tech Data for £102m. It hired former Micro-P mobile head John Doughty as head of distribution in Europe in July this year.
20:20 Mobile Group was bought by private equity firm Doughty Hanson from Phones 4u founder John Caudwell in 2006 for nearly £350m. The company, which is based in Crewe, distributes mobile phones, accessories, airtime, fixed line equipment and has annual sales of over £1.2bn to more than 8,000 active customers which include network operators, MVNOs, retailers, independent telecoms specialists, distributors and insurance providers. It employs 1,200 people.
A spokesman for Doughty Hanson declined to comment on the sale.
20:20 Mobile was unavailable for comment.
Author: Carol Millett