Caudwell rings up £1.3bn from Phones4U sale

The tycoon John Caudwell yesterday netted £1.3bn from the sale of his mobile phones empire to the private equity firms Doughty Hanson and Providence Equity Partners.

Under the terms of the deal, Doughty Hanson will acquire Caudwell Group outright and then sell on the Phones4U retailer chain to Providence, while retaining the 20:20 Logistics Distribution business. 20:20 Logistics not only distributes mobile phones throughout the UK and Europe, but also is one of the largest suppliers of phone accessories such as cases and chargers in the world.

Mr Caudwell, who was listed as the UK's 29th richest person in this year's Sunday Times Rich List, owns 85 per cent of the company. His brother Brian, who helped him set up the business, owns 10 per cent, while Craig Bennett, the group finance director, has 5 per cent. The price the two private equity players paid for the firm surprised analysts. Most did not expect it to fetch more than £1.1bln.

Mr Caudwell said: "The sale process has attracted interest from a larger number of high quality bidders and I believe that we have achieved a fair price for the business."

He added: "Selling the business will allow me to spend more time fulfilling personal ambitions, more time with my family and more time working with my charity."

The 53-year-old Phones4U tycoon set up his own children's charity in 2002, naming it the Caudwell Charity. It gives money to sick youngsters for hospital treatment, medical equipment and for "dying wish" holidays. However, Mr Caudwell does not intend to retire from the business altogether. He said: "I have a number of investment and commercial plans in the pipeline, which will allow be to maintain some interests in the business world."

Mr Caudwell, a former used car salesman, set up the Stoke-based firm in 1987 when mobile phones were virtually unheard of. Initially, the company, called Midland Mobile Phones, took eight months to resell its first order of 26 phones. Today, it sells 26 phones every minute, employs 8,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £2bn.

Like its rival Carphone Warehouse, which has a stock market value of £2.3bn, the group rode to success on the wave of mobile phone uptake. Mr Caudwell, who lives with his 36-year-old partner Claire Johnson in Broughton Hall, a £10m Grade I listed Staffordshire mansion, put his company up for sale in November of last year. To start with, it held exclusive talks with Doughty Hanson and Bain Capital. Bain fell out of the bidding at a late stage for undisclosed reasons.

Yesterday, the billionaire said that Caudwell Group has had "another year of excellent trading performance". He added: "With strong management teams across the business, I am confident we will see further growth in the coming months under the new ownership." The sale to the two private equity firms is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close next month.

Suggested Topics
News
Pro-Russia rebels guard a train containing the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 crash in Torez, Ukraine
i100
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
PROMOTED VIDEO
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
News
people
News
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
news
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Arts and Entertainment
filmThe Rock to play DC character in superhero film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Damon Albarn is starting work on a new West End musical
artsStar's 'leftfield experimental opera' is turning mainstream
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Paul and his father
artsPaul Carter wants to play his own father in the film of his memoirs
Sport
Ben Stokes trudges off after his latest batting failure for England as Ishant Sharma celebrates one of his seven wickets
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
Members of the public are invited to submit their 'sexcapades' to Russell T Davies' new series Tofu
tv
News
Sky's Colin Brazier rummages through an MH17 victim's belongings live on air
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
arts + ents'The Imitation Game' stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

Training/Learning and Development Coordinator -London

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Project Manager - ETRM/CTRM

£70000 - £90000 per annum + Job Satisfaction: Harrington Starr: Project Manage...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor