BRITAIN’S largest mobile network operator EE is in talks to buy up to 60 Phones 4u stores following the retailer’s collapse into administration.
PwC is understood to be planning to announce the deal as soon as this morning. However sources close to the administrator said talks were ongoing last night.
Phones 4u’s collapse was triggered when EE, its last remaining network partner, terminated its distribution agreement with the retailer shortly after Vodafone had done the same.
Phones 4u described EE’s decision to end its distribution agreement last weekend as a “complete shock”, while founder John Caudwell tweeted that the company had been “brought to its knees by ruthless so-called ‘partners’ moving in for the kill!”
Phones 4u’s private equity owner BC Partners had launched a scathing attack on Vodafone, claiming its behaviour “appears to have been designed to inflict the maximum damage to their partner of 15 years, giving Phones 4u no time to develop commercial alternatives.”
Dixons Carphone is reportedly involved in negotiations for around 50 Phones 4u stores while EE has also expressed interest in Phones 4u’s mobile network Life, according to Sky News.
On Friday, Vodafone announced it had agreed the purchase of 140 Phones 4u stores, saving 887 jobs. Dixons Carphone has also pounced, purchasing 160 concessions which operate within its stores and agreeing to take on 800 staff.
PwC is understood to be looking to reach deals to dispose of Phones 4u’s assets within a 48-hour rolling window that had a key negotiation window closing last night.
EE declined to comment on its negotiations with PwC.