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BC Partners Agrees to Acquire Phones 4u From Providence

BC Partners Ltd., the private equity firm that owns Fitness First, agreed to buy U.K. mobile phone retailer Phones 4u from Providence Equity Partners LLC.

The transaction is expected to be completed in April, the buyout firms said in a joint statement today. The deal values the company at 600 million pounds ($966 million) to 700 million pounds, said a person with knowledge of the matter, who declined to be identified because the terms are private.

“With its market-leading position, strong and trusted brand, multi-format strategy and extensive store network, Phones 4u is ideally positioned to benefit from further strong growth in the smart-phone market,” Andrew Newington, managing partner at BC Partners, said in the statement.

Providence purchased Phones 4u from U.K. billionaire John Caudwell in 2006. The Staffordshire, England-based company supplies all major network and handset brands in more than 500 stores in the U.K., the firm said today.

BC Partners is investing the remainder of its 5.8 billion-euro ($8.2 billion) fund raised in 2005, while seeking a new pool of similar size. The private equity firm, which has so far secured 4 billion euros from investors for its new fund, is in talks to buy a controlling stake in Italian clothing retailer Gruppo Coin SpA.

BC Partners was advised by Goldman Sachs Inc. and Global Leisure Partners Ltd. on Phones 4u. Providence was advised by Deutsche Bank AG.

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