The founder of Phones 4u has launched a scathing attack on the “ruthless” mobile network suppliers which cancelled contracts with the firm, forcing it to close 550 stores on Monday, putting 5,000 jobs at risk.
John Caudwell, who founded the brand in the 1980s, sold the company for £1.5bn in 2006, but has become involved in the debate. revealing his disgust at the way his former employees’ jobs have been put at risk.
The philanthropist claimed that networks Vodafone, EE, 02 and 3 deliberately “co-ordinated an attempt to kill off” Phones 4u to lessen competition in the UK.
Caudwell told Sky News: “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.
“What I find appalling is the way this has been done – the way the networks seemed to have worked in collusion.”
In the attack, Caudwell also accused the firm’s private equity group, BC Partners, of leaving the company “laden with debt” and in a desperate state from which it could not “defend itself and fight”.
The store entered administration during the weekend after EE cut ties with the firm, leaving it without any contracts to sell to consumers.
Accountancy firm PwC, has been confirmed as the administrator for the retailer’s 720 outlets, including half a thousand stores.
At the end of August, Vodafone ditched the retailer, announcing a new agreement with the newly founded Dixons Carphone.