Mobile phone and technology trade-in specialist musicMagpie disclosed it was in preliminary talks with BT Group and investment company Aurelius Group over a potential buyout of the company.

The retailer noted the statement followed media speculation on a potential sale, with discussions ongoing and at a very early stage. No potential valuation details were given and it cautioned an offer may not be made.  

MusicMagpie placed a deadline of 5pm on 18 December for firm offers.

The UK-based company buys, sells, refurbishes and recycles old mobile handsets, consoles, laptop PCs and other electronics. It also part exchanges various physical media including CDs, DVDs, books and games.  

CCS Insight director, consumer and connectivity Kester Mann, noted a potential deal “reflects the burgeoning market for second-hand devices”.

“Although second-hand is an important growth opportunity for the mobile industry, a potential acquisition in this market by BT comes as a bit of a surprise,” he added.

Mann noted a “recent update from EE may have offered an interesting hint”, citing a company ambition to “push harder into consumer electronics retailing by offering a broader range of products to both existing and potential customers using a new digital platform”.

“Acquiring an existing retail brand could accelerate this strategy as EE looks to stir more engagement with its customers and promote greater use of its app.”