Vodafone buys 140 Phones 4U stores

Vodafone denies claims the company was now profiting from Phones 4U’s demise after allowing the retailer to go to the wall

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The Independent Online

Vodafone tonight rejected suggestions that it was profiting from the collapse of Phones 4U after swooping to buy 140 of the collapsed phone retailer’s stores from administrators.

The deal for Vodafone to buy the stores, which will save 900 jobs, must be approved by the High Court next week.

However, more than 600 administrative staff at Phones 4U have not been so fortunate as the administrators, PwC, told them that they would be made redundant.

Phones 4U called in PwC on Monday after Vodafone became the last of the big four mobile carriers to end its contract to supply the chain.

Vodafone denied claims the company was now profiting from Phones 4U’s demise after allowing the retailer to go to the wall. A spokesman said: “Vodafone absolutely rejects any such allegation, which is without foundation.” The sale price for the 140 stores was undisclosed.

BC Partners, the private equity firm that owned Phones 4u and loaded it with debt, has blamed Vodafone for pushing the company into administration and said its behaviour “appears to have been designed to inflict the maximum damage”– a claim Vodafone has denied. But it has emerged that the mobile giant held talks about buying some of Phones 4U’s assets earlier this summer.

Vodafone’s decision to buy 140 stores increases its shop empire by more than a quarter, taking its footprint from about 382 to 522 outlets. The Phones 4u stores will be rebranded as Vodafone “as soon as possible”.

Phones 4U had 700 stores and about 5,600 staff. Dixons Carphone has taken on  about 800 former Phones 4U staff who had been working in concessions in its PC World and Currys outlets.

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