EE is reportedly looking at a withdrawal from the high street retailer Carphone Warehouse, which may leave the retailer’s £3.6bn merger with Dixons in peril.
The Telegraph reports, citing insiders, EE is considering to conclude a review of retail partnerships, which can result in axing its relationship with Carphone Warehouse, or cutting ties with Phones 4U as an alternative or “get rid” of both the retailers.
“While we do not comment specifically on ongoing negotiations, we can confirm that we’re formally reviewing our distribution strategy, primarily in the consumer space, with a view to fewer, deeper partnerships, based on value and shared ambitions,” an EE spokesman told the Telegraph.
According to the report, the company is reviewing its consumer retail strategy and is in discussions to pull its handsets within the next few weeks from the Carphone Warehouse store, which currently offers EE, Vodafone and O2 contracts.
“We work closely with all the major operators on long-term contracts which align our interests and provide valuable incremental business,” a spokesman for Carphone Warehouse said.
“The proposed merger with Dixons creates the opportunity for significant new value and we’re in conversations with all the major operators on how we can mutually make the most of this opportunity.”
EE has denied the report of cutting ties with Carphone Warehouse, but has stopped short of offering any kind of assurance that it will continue its partnership.
“We announced a review of our distribution strategy a few months ago and this process is ongoing,” a spokesperson told PC Pro, stressing that EE has not made the final decision.
“Discussions [are] continuing with all relevant parties, including Carphone Warehouse, who [is] a long-standing and important partner.”
The bottom line is nothing is official. EE operates 520 retailer stores worldwide and is planning to open 50 new stores soon, but Carphone Warehouse has 780 stores, indicating EE’s risk of losing greater reach on cutting ties.