JAG and Go Mobile are considering pooling their assets, with JAG owner John George and Go Mobile boss Iain Humphrey taking joint ownership of the combined retail estate of 104 shops.
The shops already work off the same Sellfone 3G EPOS and Shebang Distribution logistics systems.
George will lead the merged entity from his Cornwall headquarters. Humphrey will focus on consolidating his Daventry-based Shebang business in support of the retail joint venture, and specifically to increase its profit margin from 14 per cent to around 20 per cent by the end of 2010.
Humphrey said he wants to make the ground firm for the distributor to grow beyond its 2009 turnover of around £65 million in 2011.
Humphrey said of the JAG joint venture: “We are looking to set up as a trading operation with joint ownership. We want to stabilise, and to create certain operational efficiencies, which can increase in time. The two businesses are of a similar profile and we both want to secure our futures and find a new way for independent retail in secondary market towns.”
Humphrey suggested operational efficiencies in common logistics, marketing, training and support functions, even if head offices remain.
George said: “We’ve had a conversation, and it is in both our interests to do something. But the detail of such a thing has not been finalised.”
The sale of 57 Go Mobile stores to JAG collapsed last year, as JAG backed out of the earn-out deal as trading suffered.