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Phones 4u founder condemns 'collusion' by mobile networks

Phones 4u founder John Cauldwell Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

The founder of Phones 4u has claimed that Britain's big three mobile network operators made what appeared to be a "co-ordinated attempt to kill off" the retailer.

John Caudwell condemned the decision of O2, Vodafone and EE to cut ties with Phones 4u within the space of six months.

"What I find appalling is the way this has been done - the way the networks seemed to have worked in collusion," he told Sky News. "I'd love to be able to prove that point because if there was obvious proof of collusion, then that'd be extremely worrying."

Mr Caudwell added: "This network decision is extremely callous ... these things do happen but I've never seen such a ruthless, hard-hearted attempt to kill a company in my history in business."

He sold the retailer in 2006 to concentrate on philanthropic activities.

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Administrator closes 362 Phones 4u stores as 1,700 jobs go

A shuttered Phones 4u store on Oxford Street in central London. Credit: PA Wire

The administrators of Phones 4u said tonight that 362 stores would close with the loss of almost 1,700 jobs.

Rob Hunt, joint administrator and partner at PwC, said: "It is with much regret that we have today made the difficult decision to close a large number of stores. It is a very sad day for the staff working at those locations and our thoughts are with them. We will make every effort to help the affected staff."

A further 720 staff have been kept on to assist with the closure programme.

The mobile phone retailer, which employed 5,600 people, collapsed last week after all three major mobile networks stopped dealing with the chain.

EE said earlier today it would buy 58 Phones 4u stores, saving 359 jobs, in a deal with PwC, while Vodafone said last week it would pick up 140 stores and keep 900 employees on.

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Network operator EE to buy 58 Phones 4U stores

Network operator EE is to buy 58 Phones 4U stores.

The deal will save more than 350 jobs at the collapsed Staffordshire-based mobile phone retailer.

The firm went into administration last week.

Network operator EE is to buy 58 Phones 4U stores Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Vodafone said on Friday it would buy 140 stores, securing more than 850 jobs.

EE said the stores and 359 employees will be transferred with immediate effect, although the location of the shops has not been disclosed.

The stores will be re-branded to EE and it is planned that most will be opened in the next week.

Phones 4U went into administration last week Credit: PA

Vodafone Phones 4U store details to be released

Details of the 140 stores bought by Vodafone from the collapsed mobile phone chain Phones 4U will be released today.

Administrator Price Waterhouse Cooper says it had to make 628 redundancies at the Staffordshire-based firm but is continuing to talk to potential buyers.

Phones 4U went into administration last week Credit: PA

900 Phones 4u jobs saved in deal

Phones 4u has gone into administration Credit: PA

Nearly 900 jobs at collapsed retail chain Phones 4u were saved tonight after network operator Vodafone struck a deal to buy 140 stores.

However, administrator PwC said it had failed to prevent 628 redundancies among head office and telesales staff at Phones 4u's Staffordshire offices.

PwC is continuing talks with other parties regarding the purchase of assets and said it planned to retain a further 400 head office staff to assist with its work.

It will release details of the 140 stores in the Vodafone deal on Monday.

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Hopes for last-ditch rescue of Phone 4u dashed

Phones 4u has gone into administration Credit: PA

Hopes for a last-ditch rescue of Phones 4u have been quashed as talks continue over deals to save at least some of its shops and jobs.

Administrators from PwC said it was in discussions with three parties over the potential sale of assets following the company's collapse on Sunday.

However, it said a proposed debt-for-equity swap in which bondholders agree to cut back on what they are owed in order to reopen contract talks with network operators EE and Vodafone was not an option.

PwC expects to pay the majority of salaries and wage arrears and paid tribute to the co-operation of staff since the shock demise of the business.

Joint administrator Rob Hunt said: "Thousands of people have stuck with us during the course of this week in difficult circumstances."

Some 560 stores and 4,800 jobs are still at risk after Dixons Carphone agreed a deal yesterday to take on the 800 staff who had worked at 160 Phones 4u concessions within Currys/PC World stores.

All Phones 4u stores are currently shut while PwC attempts to find buyers.

A call with bondholders today heard a statement from Phones 4u's private equity owner BC Partners in which it said it was devastated by the collapse.

Administrators confirm Dixons Carphone job offers

The administrators for Phones 4U have confirmed that Dixons Carphone have agreed to offer roles to all people in the Phone4U concessions located in Dixons Carphone outlets.

"We can confirm that Dixons Carphone have agreed, with our blessing, to offer roles to all people in the Phones 4U concessions located in Dixons Carphone outlets. This agreement relates solely to staff and does not include the sale of any stock, chattels or the Phones 4U brand name.

We're delighted to reach this agreement, thereby securing continued employment for more than 800 people. We would like to wish the transferring staff all the best in their new roles.

We continue to engage with other parties regarding their interest in parts of the business."

– Rob Hunt joint administrator and PwC partner
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Dixons Carphone hopes to take on 800 Phones 4u staff

Dixons Carphone has offered to take on 800 of the 5,600 staff who faced being out of work after the collapse of mobile phone retailer Phones 4u.

The jobs are for staff who currently work at Phones 4u concessions within Currys/PC World stores, which were recently taken over by Dixons Carphone.

A statement on the company website said: "With regards to our Phones 4U shop-in-shop colleagues we hope to help them secure new roles with us and are opening up discussions with the administrators to agree our position."

Dixons Carphone also tweeted that roles could be available for Phones 4u staff at Carphone Warehouse and Dixons.

More hope was offered by reports that network operators Vodafone and EE may be willing to buy part of Phones 4u's business.

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