Smithfield in Phones4u task

Phones4u owner The Caudwell Group has drafted in Smithfield to boost its financial comms as founder John Caudwell decides whether to sell the company through an IPO or spin off its various businesses piecemeal.

The move follows reports in August that a series of companies including Carphone Warehouse, French mobile phone retailer Avenir and German mobile accessories group More were interested in buying different parts of the company.

Caudwell said at the time it had called in investment bank NM Rothschild to advise it on strategic options.

Smithfield CEO John Antcliffe began advising the firm's head of public relations David Ginivan a fortnight ago.

Co-founded by chairman and CEO John Caudwell in 1987, the group grew from a small dealership to a wholesale distributor and was the UK's fastest-growing company in 1996 and 1997.

While retail arm Phones4u is the company's best-known brand, Carphone Warehouse is thought to be interested in Caudwell's fixed-line arm Homecall, which would complement Carphone Warehouse's expanding fixed-line business TalkTalk.

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