Brightpoint makes money moving mobiles. The company is a top global distributor of mobile phones and other wireless products, acting as a middleman between manufacturers and wireless service providers. It ships the equipment to companies that sell mobile phones and accessories, including wireless carriers, dealers, and retailers; customers include Vodafone, RadioShack, and Sprint Nextel. Brightpoint also offers logistics services, such as warehousing, product fulfillment, purchasing, contract manufacturing, call center outsourcing, customized packaging, and activation through subsidiaries the likes of Brightpoint North America. In late 2012 it was acquired by world-leading IT products distributor Ingram Micro.
Buying Brightpoint allows Ingram Mirco to extend its global reach and add new customers in the mobility market. For the effort of having shelled out some $640 million, Ingram Micro also hopes to leverage Brightpoint to achieve synergies across both companies and realize $55 million in annual cost efficiencies.
Brightpoint focuses on the established Western European market and the emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa, which contributes to more than half of its sales coming from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Chief rival Brightstar is focused on the Latin American market. However, in 2011 Brightpoint invested $15 million for a 23% stake in Intcomex, a wholesale computer distributor in Latin America and the Caribbean. The investment allows Brightpoint to expand into Brightstar's territory and Intcomex to begin offering wireless phones in addition to computer hardware, software, and consumer electronics.
The company continues to broaden its selection of services by forming new alliances with telecom and computing equipment makers. In mid-2011 it signed an agreement with Research In Motion to begin distributing BlackBerry smartphones, software, and accessories in a dozen Eastern European countries. It also inked deals with Belkin to distribute Belkin's mobile accessories in Australia and with Microsoft to establish a website for Windows phone sales in the Middle East and Africa. These deals brought Brightpoint back to Poland and Turkey, where it had previously stopped operating during the global economic recession.
Brightpoint has also grown through acquisitions. In 2012 the company formed a joint venture with STC Partners to distribute phones and provide logistic services to manufacturers, wireless operators, and retailers in Malaysia. As part of the deal, Brightpoint's Malaysian subsidiary paid more than $6 million to STC, which owns 40% of the venture. The previous year it bought Singapore-based C20 Mobile Pte. Ltd. and C20 Corporation Pte. Ltd., a wireless phone and electronics distributor for customers such as M1, SingTel, and StarHub. In 2010 Brightpoint bought US-based Touchstone Wireless Repair and Logistics for $80 million in cash. Touchstone repairs and remanufactures handsets at two locations in the US and one in Puerto Rico.
All these deals signal the company's return to health following the global economic recession. After reaching record sales of $4.6 billion in 2008, sales fell by some 30% in 2009. Revenues were back up 13% in 2010, and by 2011 sales surpassed the $4 billion mark again.
Brightpoint resold more than 110 million phones in 2011, up from almost 100 million in 2010. Its largest suppliers include Samsung (23% of total units handled) and Nokia (18%). Other brands sold by the company include Apple, HTC, Kyocera, LG Electronics, and Sony Ericsson. The company has a diverse customer base of about 25,000 businesses; its top five customers accounted for about 15% of overall sales in 2010. – less