AO World to buy Mobile Phones Direct for £32.5m

Bolton-based online electrical retailer AO World plc said on Friday it agreed to acquire Mobile Phones Direct Limited for about £32.5 million in cash and shares.

MPD is an online-only retailer of mobile phones in the UK and is based in Thatcham, near Reading. It operates through two online brands, Mobile Phones Direct and Smart Phone Company.

MPD’s websites had 13.6 million visitors in 2017, up from 11.6 million in 2016. It generated revenues of £121.7 million and EBITDA of £5.5 million in the year ended March 31, 2018.

The acquisition is expected to complete before March 31, 2019.

AO World CEO Steve Caunce said: “This deal represents a significant step forward in our strategy of developing our growing range of online electricals and adding new complementary categories that customers want and expect from AO.

“Mobile Phones Direct already has a leading position within the UK online mobile phone market and is a business which is highly complementary to AO. 

“In coming together, AO will achieve instant scale and be well-placed for future opportunities within a highly attractive and growing UK mobile phone market.

“With 5G services expected to launch over the next two years and as the electrical products we sell become more connected than ever before, moving further into the mobile market is a logical next step for us.”