Vodafone and EE are separately in talks with Phones 4u’s administrator about acquiring elements of the business.
According to the FT, both mobile operators - which pulled support for Phones 4u ahead of its collapse - are in discussions to acquire stores and stock from Phones 4u, which collapsed into administration on Monday. The move could help create jobs for the thousands of staff who are set to be made redundant in the largest retail collapse since the demise of Comet in 2012.
Dixons Carphone is also in talks to offer the 800 staff that work in Phones 4u concessions alternative roles within its own stores. Dixons Carphone could also be interested in some of the stores and in buying the company’s brands. The source added that Dixons Carphone had agreed a waiver with the administrator allowing them to talk directly to the staff.
Government seems to have dismissed claims by Phones 4u founder John Caudwell that the mobile phone operators had “colluded” to pull the plug on the retailer. Caudwell is calling for officials to investigate but a Department for Business spokesman said it believes that EE and Vodafone’s decisions to stop selling via Phones 4u reflected the desire across the sector to deal with more customers directly.
He told The Telegraph: “Retail is a rapidly changing sector and this commercial decision reflects the ways in which network operators have been seeking to maximise their influence with customers.”