Softbank Billionaire Son 'in Talks' to Acquire Brightstar: Report
Masayoshi Son, the billionaire CEO behind telecom giant Softbank, is reportedly on a buying spree and now eyeing Brightstar, a mobile phone distributor that works with device manufacturers, wireless operators and retailers. While founded and based in the United States, Brightstar says it has a presence in 50 countries.
The pair are currently "in talks," Reuters reported Oct. 16.
According to the report, Brightstar Chairman and CEO Marcelo Claure declined to comment on the "rumor."
In a post on the Brightstar Website, however, Claure wrote that October marked the 15th anniversary of his founding the company, whose "tremendous success" he couldn't have predicted in his "wildest dreams."
"We started out as a small trader of cell phones and today we are a multibillion dollar company, offering services to the world's top, manufacturers, retailers and operators," he wrote.
He concluded the note with his congratulations, adding, "Here's to the next 15!"
Ovum analyst Jan Dawson told Reuters that while the deal makes sense, it has the potential to alienate other carriers, Brightstar's customers.
Acquiring Brightstar would drive synergies between it and Sprint, said Dawson. "But if other carriers abandon Brightstar, over time, the value would quickly dwindle."
The report comes a day after Softbank announced plans to pay $1.5 billion for a 51 percent stake in the Finnish game maker Supercell.
Supercell focuses on online games for tablets. Popular titles like "Clash of Clans" and "Hay Day" have helped drive the success of the company, which was founded in 2010 and now brings in approximately $2.4 million a day, according to The New York Times.
In an Oct. 15 blog post, Supercell founder and CEO Ilkka Paananen—below a photo of him grinning with an arm around the waist of a smiling Son—said Softbank's investment will enable Supercell to fulfill its "greatest aspirations" of becoming the "first truly global games company, one that has a strong foothold in both the West and the East, including Japan, Korea and China."
Paananen, while saying he wants to build a company that in 30 years' time people will look back on fondly and emotionally, the way he does with Nintendo, revealed much about Son, who he said has a 300-year plan.
"When we first met, [Son] told me he has a 300-year vision, and I thought he was joking until the following day when he ran me through what it actually looks like, and it is indeed very real and extremely inspirational," Paananen wrote. "When you meet someone like Masa, you realize what it takes to build a global business that will last forever."
This summer, following a long, arduous process, Softbank completed a merger with Sprint for $21.6 billion, or a 72 percent share of the company, and fulfilled what Son had called his dream of entering the U.S. carrier market.
Son's "dream seems endless," said Fukoku Capital Management analyst Yuuki Sakurai, according to Reuters. "Where does he plan to stop?"