Global IT group buys Cheshire mobile phone business from administrators

Information technology group TES has agreed with administrators to buy the assets of Redeem UK, including the Envirofone brand, for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition includes the Envirofone brand name, trade-in consumer websites, recycling programme, and backend systems.

Originally established in 1999, Envirofone had become one of the UK’s leading and longest-serving online trade-in brands, having traded almost 50,000 units and paid more than £9m back to customers in the previous 12 months.

However, in July this year, more than 100 staff were made redundant after administrators from KPMG were appointed to Redeem UK Limited and Redeem Holdings Limited, two entities of Macclesfield-based Redeem Group.

The company refurbished, processed and resold mobile phones to mobile network operators, as well as directly to consumers through its website Envirofone.

The group also operated an office in Bathgate, Scotland, and had operations in Dubai, Estonia, Spain and Sweden.

The administrators were not appointed over the non-UK based entities.

The acquisition by TES, a global specialist in information technology lifecycle services, will enhance TES’s offer in the mobile retail space for consumer takebacks and e-commerce sales, currently operated under the TechSI (TSI) and Stock Must Go (SMG) brand names.

Gary Steele, TES group chief executive, said: “The change in consumer habits over the past few decades continues to accelerate and evolve, emphasising the value of trusted online brands. Envirofone is undoubtedly one of those brands, providing the platform and impetus that will fuel step-change growth for TES.”

The group said the acquisition further solidifies TES’s position as the leading global provider of IT lifecycle services and its dedication to closing the loop on e-waste throughout the IT asset value lifecycle.

TES will re-establish the Envirofone brand and backend operations to support the millions of consumers who choose to trade in mobility products and further expand the portfolio to include computing, gaming and consumer electronics products.

John Paul Doble, director of Technology Supplies International, said: “Envirofone has a long established history of being a premier brand that, coupled with TES’s infrastructure, will position TES to become a major player in the mobile retail space overnight for consumer take-backs and e-commerce sales in the United Kingdom.

“By aligning Envirofone with our existing retail returns and trade-in business, TechSI, TES will be able to offer a wider range of consumer electronics products, including mobile phones, laptops, pads and gaming products, in a single online platform, enhancing the customer experience and supporting TES’s core sustainability strategy.”

Chris Pole, partner and joint administrator, said at the time of their appointment: “Like many businesses, Redeem Group has been severely impacted by COVID-19 and the business has been in hibernation since March.

“The directors had been working with customers and stakeholders to secure new funding into the business to support a reopening, but, unfortunately, this has not been possible and has led the directors to take the difficult decision of placing the company into administration.”