Carphone Warehouse and Dixons merger: 'We need more time'

Watching these two dancing round each other is more compelling than a Friends re-run....

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 24 Mar 2014

Dixons and Carphone Warehouse, the Ross and Rachael of the consumer electronics retail world, have been given an extension on their decision about whether they’re right for each other or not. The two now have until 5pm on May 19 to decide.

Rumours they were considering a merger were confirmed in February, and they were given until 5pm today to decide whether they wanted to go ahead with a deal or not. But today they said ‘there can be no certainty that a firm offer will be made’.

By the sounds of it, some of the most important decisions have been made: it’s thought Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone will be chairman of the new company (Dixphone Warehouse? Carphone Dixons? Dixons Carphone Retail Warehouse?), while Dixons Retail boss Sebastian James will become its new chief executive.

The trouble seems to be over who acquires whom. Dunstone apparently insists it is a ‘merger of equals’. To be fair, market cap-wise it pretty much would be: on Friday evening Dixons was worth £1.8bn, while Carphone Warehouse was worth £1.95bn. Then again, nothing is ever a merger of equals - there is always one more powerful partner. Dixons’ shares have risen by three quarters since the beginning of last year (mainly because it’s the last major high street consumer electronics chain standing) – so it could be about to become very big.

Still – shares in both firms have risen since they confirmed their talks on February 24. So investors are clearly enthusiastic…

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