Carphone finally gets Hugh Symons

The Carphone Warehouse has finally completed the acquisition of Hugh Symons Distribution, three months after the deal was first mooted.

The deal sees CPW get one of the UK’s top airtime distributors, with a strong dealer base and some good added-value offerings like its support systems for would-be MVNOs. Hugh Symons also has a lot of investment in sophisticated IT, one reason for its efficient handling of connections and commissions. CPW recognises that getting into the subscription market in the dealer channel requires a lot of expertise, supported by exactly the kind of systems Hugh Symons had developed.

This autumn Hugh Symons has been actively looking for more dealers, and that too must have appealed to CPW – which for a couple of years has made no secret of its desire to get into distribution.

Other distributors expect that CPW will use its buying power to negotiate the kind of deals with suppliers that could be passed on to dealers in the form of higher commissions. One immediate result of acquisition has been seen in the availability of pink RAZRs to Hugh Symons dealers.

The Carphone Warehouse was founded in 1989 by Charles Dunstone and is today Europe’s largest independent mobile phone retailer. In addition to retailing, CPW has a small-scale MVNO and a steadily growing landline service, TalkTalk.

Hugh Symons staff have been assured that their jobs are safe – “the entire team will be kept together … Where necessary we will build the team up to take advantage of the new products and services that will become available”. Business manager Bob Sweetlove will remain at the head of the operation.

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