iD Mobile could be sold following pressure from investors

By Adrian Vincent - 8 Apr 2024, 19:40 iD Mobile could be sold following pressure from investors

Currys, the owner of iD Mobile, is being pressured by investors to sell the Three powered network to ease financial difficulties.

Although Currys increased its profit forecast for the year, the retailer saw a 3% dip in sales over the Christmas period, and suffered from a significant drop in revenue throughout 2023.

The Times reports that the 8th largest stakeholder, JO Hambro, who own a 4.5% share in Currys, is pressuring the board to sell iD Mobile, with the budget network being valued at approximately £350 million.

However, it should be noted that iD Mobile is not to blame for Curry’s financial troubles. iD Mobile reported a 25% surge in subscriptions last year, increasing its customer base from 1.2 million to 1.5 million. The only bigger MVNO is Tesco Mobile, with 5.5 million customers.

Currys have dealt with two failed takeover bids since the start of the year. Elliott, an American investment management firm, gave up after its second offer was refused., one of the largest Chinese e-commerce companies, also abandoned its efforts to acquire Currys.

JO Hambro is blaming iD Mobile’s “minimum acceptable value” from investors for the failed takeover bids. It suggests that selling iD Mobile may help to resolve this issue, leading to a successful acquisition for Currys.

So who exactly will buy iD Mobile? The obvious answer is Three, who currently have an agreement with iD Mobile to power its network. However, Three have their own budget competitor called SMARTY, which it created in 2017 - 2 years after iD Mobile was founded. Despite the similarities between the two networks, SMARTY only sells 30-day SIM only deals, whereas iD Mobile sells 30-day SIM only deals in addition to SIM only contracts and phone contracts.

Furthermore, it’s looking less likely that a merger between Three and Vodafone will happen, following monopoly concerns from market regulators. Perhaps acquiring iD Mobile will act as a sort of consolation prize for Three.

About the author

Adrian Vincent is the founder and senior editor at CompareDial. He is a renowned expert in all things related to mobile phones, and is particularly knowledgeable when it comes to helping consumers find the best contract deals. His expertise is widely recognised, with citations from leading news organisations and tech publications. Adrian is dedicated to guiding users through the complexities of the phone contract market, ensuring they receive unparalleled advice and secure the best value for their money.