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BC Partners to buy Phones 4u after eyeing value in smartphone market

Private equity firm BC Partners is to buy British mobile phone company Phones 4u from Providence Equity Partners, eyeing value in the growing smartphone market.

The firms, who expected the deal to close next month, did not disclose how much BC Partners paid for the 500-store Phones 4u business.

However, a source with knowledge of the transaction said BC Partners had paid £600 to £700 million.

Phones 4u, which supplies all major network and handset brands, posted 2010 sales of over £900 million, representing growth of over 20 per cent.

“Phones 4u is ideally positioned to benefit from further strong growth in the smartphone market, as technological innovation and product evolution continues,” said BC Partners managing partner Andrew Newington.

Providence Equity Partners, along with Doughty Hanson, purchased Phones 4u from its founder John Caudwell for about £1.46 billion in 2006, but had already sold parts of the business prior to Friday's deal.

Providence Equity Partners was advised by Deutsche Bank, and BC Partners by Global Leisure Partners.

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