Currys Investor Urges Sale of UK Mobile Operator ID Mobile

Low-cost mobile operator iD Mobile (Currys), which harnesses Three UK’s national 4G and 5G network via a virtual operator (MVNO) partnership, could be sold. The news came after one of Currys’ top investors, JO Hambro, encouraged the consume electronics retailer to sell the operator (valued at c.£350m) to help resolve its current difficulties.

Over the past few months Currys has faced two failed takeover bids for its wider business. The most recent one occurred after US investor, Elliott, abandoned an attempt to take Currys private after its second offer, which valued the retailer at £757m, was rebuffed. Meanwhile, a Chinese retailer, promptly also gave up on bidding for the company.

NOTE: Back in November 2023 Currys announced that ID Mobile had seen a 25% year-on-year growth in service subscriptions, which saw them top the 1.5 million customer mark.

According to The Times (paywall), JO Hambro, which holds a 4.5% stake in Currys and is the company’s 8th largest shareholder, now wants the retailer to consider selling iD Mobile in order to better “realise shareholder value” following the withdrawal of recent bids.

The letter suggested that one factor contributing to the failed bids was the stance of certain investors on the “minimum acceptable value for [iD Mobile’s] business“. Selling the operator might help to resolve that, but it remains unclear whether Currys itself will pursue such an option (JO Hambro is believed to have support from at least some other big investors in the business).

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