Business

Dixons Carphone set to save 800 Phones 4U jobs

File photo dated 15/09/14 of a Phones 4U shop in Oxford Street in central London with its shutters down. Image copyright PA

Dixons Carphone will offer to hire the 800 people who work in Phones 4U concessions at its Currys and PC World stores.

Phones 4U set up the shops-within-a-shop at Dixons-owned Currys and PC World before the merger between Dixons and Carphone Warehouse was announced.

The 160 concessions were due to end next year as Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U were competitors.

The Phones 4U business went into administration on Monday.

The move put 5,596 jobs and more than 700 outlets at risk, and came after Vodafone, EE and O2 did not renew their contracts with the company.

Dixons Carphone said via Twitter that it had secured an agreement to offer jobs to Phones 4U employees who work in concessions in its stores.

Separately, mobile phone network operators Vodafone and EE are in discussions to buy parts of stricken retailer Phones 4U, sources say.

Decline

Phones 4U blamed its decline on EE's decision not to renew its contract. This followed a similar move from Vodafone earlier in September.

Accountancy firm PwC was appointed to see if any of the 560 stores and 160 concessions could be re-opened or sold.

As well as Vodafone and EE, overseas operators with an eye to entering the UK market have expressed an interest, a source told the BBC.

In an e-mailed statement, Vodafone said: "We can confirm that we have been approached by the administrators of the Phones4U business."

EE and PwC declined to comment.

The Financial Times first reported the network operators' discussions late on Tuesday.

'Unprecedented assassination'

John Caudwell, the founder of Phones 4U, has blamed the demise of his former company on the "ruthless actions" of "predatory" mobile phone networks.

Phones 4U said it had been a profitable business, with turnover of £1bn, underlying profits of £105m in 2013 and plenty of cash in the bank, but that without the contracts from the phone networks it no longer had a business.

This was an "unprecedented assassination", Mr Caudwell told the BBC's Today programme on Tuesday.

The mobile firms rejected his claims.

Mr Caudwell sold Phones 4U to Providence Equity and Doughty Hanson for £1.5bn in 2006.

The retailer, now owned by private equity firm BC Partners, has said established mobile contracts taken out through Phones 4U will not be affected, although phones ordered and not despatched - for example anyone ordering the new iPhone 6 over the weekend - would be.

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