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Report: EE in talks to scoop up 60 Phones 4u stores from troubled High Street retailer

Carrier at centre of row has just hours to secure deal

Atmospheric snap of vultures silhouetted against a sunset on a wooden structure on the shore of a lake. (C) Jerry Rogers

EE is reportedly the latest company to pick over the carcass of stricken British High Street mobile phone retailer Phones 4u, which fell into administration late last week.

According to the Sunday Times (£), EE has until tonight to secure a deal to buy 60 stores from Phones 4u.

The move comes after rival mobile network Vodafone confirmed on Friday that it had struck a deal with Phones 4u administrators PwC to purchase 140 stores from the retailer, with the promise of saving 887 jobs.

Separately, 800 Phones 4u employees were taken on by Dixons Carphone earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, Phones 4u has so far laid off 628 head office and telesales staff with redundancy packages following its surprise decision to go into administration last Sunday.

At the time, the company blamed Vodafone and EE for declining to renew contracts with the provider beyond 2015.

It's been alleged to the Sunday Times by anonymous sources close to Phones 4u's private equity owner BC Partners that the carriers "had engineered the retailer's demise so they could cherry-pick its best store on the cheap."

Vodafone and EE have rejected claims that they were to blame for Phones 4u's downfall.

Phones 4u had nearly 6,000 staff on its books and 550 stores. It's unclear what will happen to 3,200 employees who remain in the dark about their future with the company as PwC attempts to mount a rescue package for the firm founded by billionaire John Caudwell in 1996. ®

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