Sadly Phones4U has gone from one of the UK’s leading retail businesses worth £1.47 billion to bust within 8 years.
On 26 September 2006, The Caudwell Group was sold for a sum of £1.47 billion to private equity firms Providence Equity Partners and Doughty Hanson & Co.
In February 2008, the group bought online retailer Dialaphone in a deal worth an estimated £9 million. In July 2010, Phones 4u partnered with electrical chain Dixons to place 49 concessions inside a small number of Currys and PC World stores. Since then this number increased to over 100. However, following a merger between Dixons and rival phone shop, Carphone Warehouse, it was announced that this partnership would not be renewed.
The group was acquired by the private equity group BC Partners in March 2011. The deal, estimated to be worth in the region of £700 million, was agreed several months after talks with a US private equity owner were aborted.
On 14 September 2014, Phones 4u was put into administration following the decisions by Vodafone and EE to not renew their contracts with the company. Stores closed and both the Phones 4u and Dial-A-Phone websites were taken offline on Monday 15 September, pending a decision by the administrators. The other mobile networks already stopped trading through Phones 4u, with Three leaving in 2012 and O2 earlier in 2014.