Softbank, Sprint's spend-happy new owner, has invested $1.26 billion to take a majority stake in wireless distributor Brightstar.
The deal values Brightstar at $2.2 billion and gives Softbank control of about 57 percent of the company with plans to grow its ownership to 70 percent over the next five years. Brightstar founder and CEO Marcelo Claure will own the remaining 43 percent if the deal closes as expected later this year.
Why this matters
Since Softbank closed its $21.6 billion acquisition of Sprint in July, it hasn't let up on its spending spree. The new parent spent another $500 million between August and September to raise its stake in Sprint to more than 80 percent, and, on Tuesday, it forked over another $1.5 billion for a majority stake in tablet game developer Supercell.
The deal with Brightstar means both it and Sprint would have more bargaining power with device makers, something Sprint needs as it's often trailed its larger competitors in getting the latest and greatest devices, including the iPhone. (See: iPhone 5: Which 4G Carrier to Pick?)
Verizon Wireless chose Brightstar as its exclusive handset provider in April, shortly before Claure joined the carrier and J.Lo on stage at the CTIA show. The companies didn't say whether its new relationship with Sprint will affect its other partners in the US. (See: Verizon Taps Brightstar for Handset Distribution.)
- Sprint Axes More Clearwire Employees
- Sprint Lays Off 800 Customer Service Reps
- Brightstar Acquires Mobile Buy-Back Vendor
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading