When it started in the late 1990s, this phone retailer had to expand at a breakneck speed to catch its rivals. It now has 440 high-street stores. Providence Equity Partners bought the company from John Caudwell for a reported £779m in 2006. In February, the firm, based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, bought a call centre and Dial-a-phone, which sells mobile phones over the internet. Sales reached £782m in 2006 under chief executive Tim Whiting. In May the company was named in an Ofcom investigation into alleged mis-selling.
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