News by Andrew Kameka on Friday October 18, 2013.
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Japanese carrier SoftBank is strengthening its ties to the American wireless industry, announcing that it has invested $1.2 billion to acquire a 57 percent share of Brightstar Corp. Brightstar is a US-based company specializing in supplying smartphones, accessories, and various services - including phone insurance and trade-in programs - used by third-party retailers. The company has a presence in dozens of countries and may be familiar to readers as one of the retail partners for Jennifer Lopez's Viva Movil venture with Verizon Wireless.
SoftBank's investment in Brightstar will lead to a new venture group design to aid SoftBank's other businesses, including Sprint, and increase its presence in other markets. The deal calls for Brightstar to purchase smartphones, accessories, and services and sell to authorized retailers and affiliates. Brightstar will become the exclusive provider of these services for "certain SoftBank affiliates," so there's no word if that will affect Sprint. Brightstar will also be the first choice provider for insurance and trade-in programs for some SoftBank affiliates.
Brightstar founder Marcelo Claure will remain CEO of the company and preside over the Miami-based operation. Within five years, or "upon certain events" that have yet to be defined, SoftBank's ownership will rise to 70 percent of Brightstar.source: Brightstar Corp
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.