Independent mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse and the Virgin Group have agreed to sell Virgin Mobile France to Numericable Group SA.
The joint venture mobile virtual network operator will be acquired by the French telecommunications and broadband services provider in a deal worth €325m of which €149.5m will be attributable to Carphone. The parties have now signed a legally-binding sale and purchase agreement.
Carphone owns 46% of Virgin Mobile France's holding company Omer Telecom Ltd. Entrepreneur Richard Branson's Virgin Group also owns 46%; the balance is held by management.
Numericable was established in 2007 following the merger of competitors Noos and NC Numericable Networks. The parties entered into talks with Numericable on 16 May.
The sale is subject to approval from the French Competition Authority. In a statement, Carphone said, 'During the exclusivity period, the parties will carry out the necessary consultations with employee work councils, with the transaction also being subject to the approval of the French Competition Authority.'
When announcing its full-year results last Thursday, Carphone said it was clear that Virgin Mobile France would be better served by being 'part of a larger organisation'.
Tough competition in the market saw Virgin Mobile France's revenue fall 10% in the year to 29 March compared to the previous year.
Shares in Carphone were trading up 0.5% at 323.50 pence this morning (30 June).