Tech Data Forms Joint Venture To Enter European Mobile Device Market

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Tech Data and Brightstar, a Miami-based wireless distributor and supply-chain solution provider, have formed a joint venture to enter the European wireless and mobile technology market.

Called Brightstar Europe, the venture will distribute mobile phones and other wireless devices to mobile operators, dealers, retailers and agents throughout the European market from its U.K. headquarters and 16 sales offices across the continent. Tech Data and Brightstar will each own a 50 percent share of the operation.

The deal is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks, and operations are expected to be up and running in March.

Tech Data CEO Bob Dutkowsky said the move is in line with the Clearwater, Fla.-based company's mission to enter corollary markets to its distribution business.

"[Brightstar is] among the industry leaders in the wireless, handset and smartphone marketplace, and they have deep domain knowledge in that space. They understand the business. They have great relationships with the key players in the industry. They have the technical capability to customize the handset, and they have a proven business model," Dutkowsky said.

"We don't really understand the cell phone business, but we look at the market and see it as a fast-growing, profitable adjacent market," he added. "We needed a partner that brought the knowledge of that market space. Brightstar, on the other hand, has no footprint in Europe, and they needed the logistics engine to be able to warehouse and pick, pack and ship if they wanted to move into Europe. Tech Data's recent infrastructure buildup in Europe, including the deployment of SAP, made them a good fit."

Dutkowsky declined to comment on whether there were any plans to bring Tech Data into the North American cellular and related wireless device market.

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