SoftBank to acquire Brightstar

21 October 2013 |

Japanese operator SoftBank has agreed to purchase a majority stake in private US cellphone company Brightstar.

A $1.26 billion deal for the 57% stake was agreed late last Friday, following earlier reports that the two companies were in talks over the sale.

Under terms of the agreement, Brightstar is expected to become the exclusive provider of mobile phone handsets to a number of SoftBank affiliates.

SoftBank values Brightstar at $2.2 billion, according to Reuters, and said it will increase its stake in the US company to 70% over the next five years.

This does not seem an unrealistic target for SoftBank, which acquired 78% of US mobile giant Sprint in July this year and just a month later, increased its stake in the company to 80%.

In a twist of fate, Brightstar names Sprint’s three largest rivals – Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile US – as customers, and analysts have raised concerns over the potential loss of custom for Brightstar.

John Jackson, analyst at IDC, told Reuters: “I would certainly think the existing Brightstar customers will want to review their situation. But none of this will have been lost on SoftBank. The whole model falls down without the scale of the other operators.”

The deal is still subject to regulatory approval and is expected to complete at the end of the year.

SoftBank has completed a number of acquisitions across the board in 2013, including Clearwire in early July and a share in Supercell with GungHo earlier this month.