Phones 4 Receiver

Having its naming rights sponsor go into receivership won’t lead to any immediate change of branding at Manchester’s , where management stresses that shows will certainly go unaffected. 

The phones retailer that 15 months ago signed a five-year, multimillion naming rights deal for the former Manchester Evening News Arena went into administration Sept. 14.

SMG Europe was quick to issue a statement: “The arena will continue to be managed and operated by SMG Europe, as it has very successfully for the last 20 years. “Our name will remain Phones 4 U Arena for the foreseeable future.”

Phones 4 U and its 600 or so outlets and nearly 6,000 staff hit trouble when the firm owned by private equity specialists BC Partners lost the support of its network providers.

O2, Vodafone and finally EE refused to renew their contracts, effectively leaving Phones 4 U to try to sell phones without a network.

Phones 4 U is now in the hands of accountancy firm PwC, which means it now controls any staged payments due to the SMG Europe-run venue.

Many UK analysts suggest the network operators may have disconnected Phone 4U for predatory motives, while PwC says it is talking to the network providers to try to find a way to save the business.

If PwC can shift the company – in whole or part – as a going concern, the venue’s naming rights may hinge on whether the purchaser wanted to continue the brand. Upcoming shows at the Manchester venue include Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga, The Who, Kasabian, and Ed Sheeran.