Virgin Mobile finalizes Helio buyout

Virgin Mobile USA closes the Helio sale

Virgin Mobile now owns Helio.
Virgin Mobile now owns Helio. Virgin Mobile

Well, it finally happened. Less than two months after Virgin Mobile USA made its move to purchase Helio, the acquisition is now official. Virgin Mobile USA paid $39 million in stock for the nascent MVNO, and as part of the purchase, Virgin Group and SK Telecom will each invest $25 million in the combined company, as we reported back then. It'll be interesting to see how the two companies mesh their brands--Virgin Mobile is known for its cheap prepaid phones, while Helio is almost the exact opposite, known mostly for its high-end monthly subscription devices.

Certainly, there's a big chance that the two will complement each other. Both are youth-oriented, but for different segments of the market, and it makes sense to bring both under the same umbrella. That said, I wonder if the Helio side of things will continue to offer innovative and full-feature handsets like the popular Helio Ocean, or if the combined company will end up with a midtier compromise. Whatever happens, it'll be interesting to see what the future holds for both Virgin and Helio.

About the author

Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.

 

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