Good news for beleaguered staff of ailing mobile phone shop Phones 4U: Vodafone has agreed to buy 140 of the failing chain's stores, saving approximately 900 jobs.
Phones 4U, a third-party retail chain built on selling phones and contracts from across the different UK networks, was holed below the waterline when Vodafone and EE pulled out from their partnerships with the company this month. The other major networks, O2 and Three, had already left.
With no networks to sell, the shop was forced into administration this week. That left 5,600 jobs in the balance across more than 700 outlets.
Vodafone's offer to buy 140 branches was accepted by administrator PwC, which is looking to see whether Phones 4U can survive by selling off assets. Subject to court approval, Vodafone says it will begin rebranding the shops in question into Vodafone stores "as soon as possible."
A spokesperson for Phones 4U's owner, private equity firm BC Partners, originally singled out Vodafone for criticism in the throes of the chain's failure, but Vodafone denied "acting inappropriately."
Rival retailer Dixons Carphone, which runs Carphone Warehouse, Currys and PC World, has already confirmed it will employ the Phones 4U staff employed at Phones 4U-branded shop-in-shop concessions in its stores.