West Midland billionaire John Caudwell - already one of the country's richest men - yesterday hoisted the "for sale" sign over his vast business empire after receiving a number of approaches from potential suitors.
Mr Caudwell, who set up the operation in 1987, said he had delayed the sale of his fixed-line telecoms arm Caudwell Communications and was instead inviting offers for the wider Caudwell Group, which spans mobile phone retail chain Phones4U to the Homecall home phone service.
The company, which has annual sales of more than £2 billion and employs 8,500 staff, said it had received "many offers" from buyers interested in acquiring all or part of the group.
Fifty three year-old Mr Caudwell said: "I would absolutely want to sell the group as a whole.
"The business is in fantastic shape. All the companies have got synergies with each other. Selling it as a whole would be the best way of protecting employees."
Mr Caudwell, who is chairman and chief executive of Caudwell, said he believed the firm had great potential for future growth in the UK and internationally, as it was led by entrepreneurial management teams.
However, he declined to put a price tag on Caudwell, instead comparing it with rival Carphone Warehouse, which is worth around £1.9 billion.
"If you look at Carphone, whilst they are ahead on EBITDA level, on most other measures we're very comparable. The more important thing for me is that we are out-accelerating Carphone in many measures," he said.
Mr Caudwell, ranked 29th in the Sunday Times Rich List with a fortune of £1.28 billion, founded the company with his brother Brian in Stoke-on-Trent.
He was running a car repair business when he discovered he could receive a discount on the usual £1,500 mobile phone price tag if he became a dealer, and soon entered the fledgling industry.
The business took eight months to sell its first order of 26 phones - but now sells 26 every minute.
As well as more than 350 Phones4U stores across the UK, Caudwell Group has a fixed-line operation serving both residential and business customers, and repairs, logistics and equipment supplies businesses.
Its subsidiaries include 20:20 Logistics, the world's largest distributor of mobile handsets, Dextra Solutions, a distributor of accessories to retail chains, the Mobile Phone Repair Co. and Caudwell Logistics.
Mr Caudwell said he had lots of other unfulfilled ambitions and would "without doubt" set up another business.
"It won't be for a few months," he said. "I will take a bit of a breather."
The businessman sold his mobile phone service business Singlepoint to Vodafone for £405 million in 2003.