Re: last step of the journey
I think that for the most part those days have gone. WileyFox aren't big enough to be that much of a threat or an opportunity, the brand is very niche (and loses its "crafty British challenger" appeal as soon as acquired by a bumbling incumbent), and what are WFx doing that the majors could do but choose not to?
Surely the only people this would make sense for would be Cyanogenmod themselves, since they're making no money from their software at the moment, and they might see WileyFox either as their main route to market, or as their "reference" design in the manner of the Nexus devices. But as a US company I'd have thought there's a range of US-based Shenzen-vetters who are doing the same sort of thing as WFx, and CM would culturally be a better fit with another US business.
The other thing is that whilst we often bemoan the sale of UK start ups, what those sales actually reflect is the sense of proportion of UK entrepreneurs. Why put the years of extra work in, and take the risks to build a half-a-billion pound corporate business, if you can sell out much earlier for £15m, and either retire somewhere pleasant, or start again in the rule-free world of the start-up? Building a big corporate enterprise (successfully) would make them very rich indeed, but it means moving from anarchic energy and innovation to a world of process, compliance, policies, board meetings, corporate finance, suits and PHBs. And to get the benefits, you've still got to go through a hair-raising trade sale, or worse still an IPO, where you'll initially be a key man, but then be squeezed out of "your own" company by the suits.