SoftBank in Talks for Stake in Mobile Distributor Brightstar

SoftBank Corp., Japan’s third-largest wireless carrier, is in talks to buy a stake in Brightstar Corp., a U.S.-based mobile-phone distributor.

No decision has been made on the acquisition, according to a filing with the Tokyo Stock Exchange. An e-mail to Brightstar Chairman Marcelo Claure outside normal business hours wasn’t returned.

The Nikkei newspaper earlier reported SoftBank is in talks to buy a majority stake in Brightstar in a deal that could be worth more than 100 billion yen ($1 billion). The news agency didn’t identify the source of the information.

SoftBank, controlled by billionaire Masayoshi Son, is making deals in Europe and North America to tap growth amid a declining population at home. The Tokyo-based company this year paid $21.6 billion for control of Sprint Corp., the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier, and yesterday said it will team with GungHo Online Entertainment Inc. to buy a 51 percent stake in Finnish game developer Supercell Oy for $1.53 billion.

Brightstar distributes mobile phones, provides handset insurance and financial services with operations in about 50 countries, according to its website.

SoftBank, founded in 1981, has stakes in more than 1,000 Internet operations including Yahoo Japan Corp. and Ustream Inc., according to its website. It owns more than a third of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s largest e-commerce company.

Son is forecasting record domestic earnings this year for SoftBank as new subscribers are added more quickly and the Sprint deal saves $2 billion annually by pooling purchases of handsets and network equipment.

SoftBank rose 2.1 percent to 7,390 yen at 9:03 a.m. in Tokyo trading. The shares have more than doubled this year while Japan’s benchmark Topix index has added 39 percent.

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