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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
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

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Audit Manager Central Functions

To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...

Credit Risk Audit Manager

Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week