SPICE MOBILES IS PICKING UP 65% EQUITY IN NEW BLUEBERRY JOINT VENTURE

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BK Modi group firm Spice Mobiles is picking up 65% equity in a new joint venture that would own Asian smart phone brand Blueberry besides the mobile handset and netbook manufacturing units of Malaysia’s CSL Mobile for around $25 million, a top company executive said.

CSL, a privately-held company, which is believed to have annual revenues of $180 million, will transfer its assets to the JV firm in which it would own 35% stake.

Selangor-based CSL currently has two manufacturing plants in China and Taiwan where it makes mobile handsets and netbooks. The products are sold under the company’s parent brand CSL and smart phone brand Blueberry.

Spice Mobiles, that currently sells handsets in the country under its own brand, is reviewing plans to launch these other brands in India, one of the fastest growing mobile markets.

The deal is structured through a mix of cash payment and stock sale. Spice Mobiles has made an initial investment of $10 million for picking the majority stake and the group will transfer 7.5%, or a third of its shareholding in Singapore Stock Exchange-listed MediaRing, to CSL. As per closing price of MediaRing the 7.5% stake is valued at $15 million.

Spice Mobile had acquired about 22% in the IT company MediaRing in August last year for about $40 million. “The JV will help us have a foothold in area of product design. Our investment in the JV will go up to $100 million by the fiscal end,” B K Modi chairman Spice Mobile who will also double up as head of the new JV, said.

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