EE and Vodafone UK have stepped in to acquire nearly 200 shops from mobile retail chain Phones 4U following news that it has fallen into administration.

EE confirmed this morning that it will purchase 58 stores and take on 359 of its employees. The Phones 4U stores will be re-branded to EE and the operator said it planned that most will be opened in the next week.

On Friday, Vodafone announced it is buying 140 shops and rehiring 900 employees.  A statement read: “We are pleased to report that approximately 900 former Phones4U employees will keep their jobs and join our dynamic retail business.

“Subject to court approval, we will start engaging with these employees and begin the rebranding of the stores to Vodafone as soon as possible.”

Both Vodafone and EE pulled their products from the independent retailer, which sold handsets and contracts on their behalf, last week.

Founder John Cauldwell has blamed the two operators for the failure of his company, but it has emerged the private equity company behind Phones 4U has taken significant capital out of the business.

BC partners took £200 million out of the Phones 4U last year as it looked to recoup its original investment, the FT has reported.

Vodafone and EE are investing in their retail outlets as they look to improve their image and the customer experience they provide on the UK high street.

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