UPDATE: Brightpoint’s planned sale spawns uncertainty

BrightPoint Inc.’s planned sale, which would eliminate one of Indiana’s six Fortune 500 companies, is casting uncertainty over Hendricks County, where the company has massive distribution operations and is one of the largest employers.

The Indianapolis-based cell phone distributor said early Monday that it would be acquired by California-based Ingram Micro Inc., the world’s largest technology distributor and supply-chain services provider, for about $840 million.

Brightpoint, headquartered on the northwest side, has about 1,300 employees in the Indianapolis area and about 4,000 worldwide. In a press release, Ingram did not specify job cuts but said it expects “to realize cost synergies and efficiencies in excess of $55 million” by 2014.

BrightPoint CEO Robert Laikin founded the company in 1989, when the cell phone industry was in its infancy. Ingram said that after the deal’s closing, Laikin will serve in a “senior advisory role” to its CEO, Alain Monie.

BrightPoint senior executives Mark Howell, Bruce Thomlinson, Anurag Gupta, and Vincent Donargo have "committed to senior roles within the new organization," the companies said.

Under the deal, Ingram would acquire all of BrightPoint’s common stock for $9 per share in cash. In premarket trading Monday, investors pushed up BrightPoint shares to $8.89, an increase of 64 percent, or $3.48, from Friday's close.

The $9 offer is a 35-percent premium to BrightPoint's 90-day average trading price.

The price includes about $190 million in BrightPoint debt.

"The transaction with Ingram Micro will deliver significant value to our shareholders and will enable us to accelerate our global growth strategy," Laikin said in a prepared statement. "This powerful combination will also provide compelling opportunities for BrightPoint's vendor partners, customers and employees to benefit from the financial strength, scale and broad geographic reach of the world's largest technology distribution company."

The acquisition must be approved by BrightPoint shareholders at a special meeting that is likely to take place in the third quarter. The deal is also subject to regulatory approvals. The companies said the deal should close by the end of the year.

"BrightPoint is a well-run company with leading, high-value services and solutions coupled with excellent distribution channels in the global mobility market," Ingram’s Monie said in a prepared statement. "BrightPoint's offerings are highly complementary to both our logistics and distribution businesses, which will enable us to go to market with the leading portfolio of mobility device lifecycle services and solutions."

BrightPoint was named one of the country's 500 largest companies in 2011, ranking 463rd with $5.2 billion in revenue. Ingram was ranked 81st, with $36.3 billion in revenue.

"This is the right time for this transaction," Laikin said. "I believe strongly that Ingram Micro is the best partner for our business and employees going forward, and I am excited at the prospect of BrightPoint becoming part of a Fortune 100 company."

Ingram Micro said it has obtained $300 million in debt financing from Morgan Stanley Senior Funding Inc. to help pay for the acquisition.


Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: IBJ is now using a new comment system. Your Disqus account will no longer work on the IBJ site. Instead, you can leave a comment on stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Past comments are not currently showing up on stories, but they will be added in the coming weeks. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.