Private equity firm BC Partners is likely to pay less than the £700m anticipated for Phones4U by present owner Providence Equity Partners.
BC Partners, the only potential buyer of the mobiles retailer, has made an offer of between £655m and £680m the Daily Telegraph reported and a tussle over the price is now expected.
Private equity group Blackstone and telecomms firm Everything Everywhere were among the parties originally interested in 450-store Phones4U but both subsequently pulled out of the sale process.
It is understood that bank debt BC Partners had lined up through Deutsche Bank to fund the deal fell through.
Instead, junk bonds of £450m are being arranged by Goldman Sachs and the extra cost affects the amount BC Partners would be willing to pay for Phones4U.