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SoftBank Acquires Majority Stake in Brightstar for $1.26B

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 10:21am
Ben Munson

Brightstar announced Friday that SoftBank had successfully bid $1.26 billion to acquire a 57-percent stake of the handset distributor. SoftBank’s investment values Brightstar at $2.2 billion.

As part of the deal, over the next five years SoftBank’s ownership in Brightstar is scheduled to increase to 70 percent. In addition to the $1.26 cash SoftBank is investing, the Japanese carrier is also guaranteeing Brightstar's outstanding $350 million senior unsecured notes due 2016 and $250 million senior unsecured notes due 2018.

SoftBank currently owns 80 percent of Sprint, the U.S.’s third largest mobile carrier. In selling itself to Sprint shareholders as a worthy suitor, SoftBank noted its size and TD-LTE network compatibility would help provide leverage with major handset OEMs. SoftBank’s move to acquire Brightstar could further increase Sprint’s phone buying power.

Reuters cited a person familiar with the deal who said that by combining Brightstar’s customers with SoftBank’s telecom affiliates, Brightstar’s annual purchases of equipment and services will top $20 billion annually.

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