Owner scraps plan to sell Phones4U

Phones4U tycoon John Caudwell will miss out on a further cash windfall after the mobile phone retailer's US owners ditched plans to sell the company.

Private equity firm Providence, which bought 75 per cent of the company four years ago from Mr Caudwell, had been looking to sell the company after a number of takeover approaches.

But the Rhode Island-based owners have scrapped plans to sell the mobile phone retailer, which is thought to be worth in the region of 700m to 800m.

Billionaire Mr Caudwell, who still owns a stake in the business, would have had a second pay day had any deal gone ahead.

The group began in 1987 when Mr Caudwell bought 26 phones from the US for more than 1,000 each and sold them on in the UK.

Providence bought the firm in 2006 for 1.46bn, although the deal also included Mr Caudwell's 20:20 phone distribution arm. Phones4U has 476 stores.

It is thought some of the interest may have come from mobile phone operators, as owning shops can help them to encourage consumers to switch provider.