July 11, 2012 / 2:30 PM / 5 years ago

Tech Data to buy out partner's stake in Europe joint venture

(Reuters) - Tech Data Corp will buy out Brightstar Corp’s 50 percent holding in their joint venture Brightstar Europe Ltd, a distributor of mobile devices, for $165.6 million in cash.

Dwindling PC sales and sluggish global IT spending are forcing technology products distributors to expand in new growth areas such as smartphones and tablets.

Tech Data’s deal comes days after rival Ingram Micro Inc said it would buy BrightPoint Inc to boost its presence in the higher-margin mobile devices market.

“Our European mobility business is a key element in our strategy of diversifying into higher-growth, higher-return specialty areas,” Tech Data CEO Robert Dutkowsky said.

The joint venture, which reported sales of about $1.8 billion in the last fiscal year, was formed in 2007 to capitalize on the growing wireless device market in Europe.

Tech Data will fund the buyout with available cash and expects it to add to fiscal 2013 profit.

The transaction, which includes the repayment of all loans that Brightstar made to the joint venture, is expected to be completed during the third quarter.

Tech Data shares were up 30 cents at $47.74 in early trading on the Nasdaq. The stock has fallen 20 percent since February 27, when it touched a life high of $59.29.

Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee and Sayantani Ghosh in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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