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Phones4U sold on again

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Mobe retailer Phones4U has been bought by BC Partners from its previous private equity owners.

The 500-strong chain was sold by founder John Caudwell, along with his B2B business, to Providence Equity for £1.46bn in 2006.

Phones4U claims £900m in sales for last year, up 20 per cent on 2009. Iy has 6,000 staff and claims one in four smartphone contracts sold on the High Street are signed in its shops.

The official statement did not give a price but the Press Association reckons it could be up to £700m.

BC Partners, or rather "investment funds advised by...", said: "Phones4U is ideally positioned to benefit from further strong growth in the smartphone market, as technological innovation and product evolution continues."

Phones4U claims a special relationship with younger consumers.

BC Partners, which also owns Fitness First gyms, manages over €10bn in funds in Europe and the US. It remains best known for its pre-slump purchase of much-loved estate agents Foxtons in 2007.

The deal, which needs regulator approval, should close in April 2011. ®

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