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Thu 1 Mar 2007 12:00 AM

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Merged pair eye Bright future

Rivals Brightstar and Dangaard join forces to create ‘true global leader’ in wireless distribution.

Danish handset distribution company Dangaard Telecom has announced a merger with industry behemoth Brightpoint in a move which will effectively see the US company become the world's largest wireless distribution company.

The move will see Brightpoint and its competitor Brightstar Corporation exercise influence over almost all of the Middle East's major mobile channel players via a number of corporate alliances.

Both Brightstar and Dangaard are members of the BRAXDA Alliance group as is UAE-based Axiom Telecom, the Middle East's largest mobile retail and distribution company.

Brightstar is also in partnership with regional distribution company Aptec through joint venture Brightec. The two companies joined forces in May last year with the US-based firm holding a 51% stake in Brightec.

The current developments put Brightpoint and Dangaard in a prime position to provide strong regional infrastructure to channel partners in the high growth markets of the Middle East and Africa. As a single entity, the company will be able to benefit from increased economies of scale and coverage.

Media reports suggest that Brightpoint paid in excess of US$300 million in stock and assumed debt for Dangaard, Europe's largest handset distributor.

The joint venture will base its corporate operations out of Brightpoint's Plainfield site, USA, with Dangaard's offices in Padborg, Denmark, serving as the company's European headquarters. Currently there are no proposed plans to re-brand either company.

Robert J Laikin will remain in position as Brightpoint CEO after the transaction is concluded in June 2007, while Dangaard Telecom COO Michaél Køehn Milland will relocate to the Plainfield office to take up the post of co-chief operating officer and international president. Jac Currie will fill the position of president of the emerging markets division.

In a statement to the press Dangaard claimed the company's pro forma operating income was US$106 million and that combined revenues totaled US$4.6 billion for 2006.

"This transaction will join together two of the most prominent players in the wireless handset distribution and logistics industry to create a true global leader," said Laikin.

"I firmly believe that our two companies complement each other perfectly in terms of geography, service offerings and shared commitment to operational excellence," he commented.

Dangaard CEO Steen F Pedersen, who will remain in this position in addition to assuming the role of president for European operations of the joint venture, commented: "This merger creates some tremendous opportunities - not least in the European market. Brighpoint's operations in Finland, Slovakia and Russia will be added to our presence in over a dozen European countries."

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