Report – GAME puts itself up for sale

GAME has hired Rothschild to find a buyer for the beleaguered retailer, The Sunday Times reports.

The paper writes that GAME has to pay landlords in two weeks. Failure to pay rents could push the firm into administration jeopardising thousands of jobs.

As widely reported, GameStop is interested in the Spanish arm of the business. If GAME wants to sell its British arm, it may have to go through the unpopular pre-pack administration.

Deloitte is waiting in the wings to handle any insolvency process, the broadsheet says.

A similar process may happen to the firm’s French and Australian businesses.

GAME’s share price has plunged to 3.5p, meaning its market value is now just over 15m.

As a recap to the situation at GAME, the retailer hit trouble following a poor Christmas sales period.

Like many retailers, GAME relies on Christmas to generate revenue, and uses a banking facility to get it through the quieter Spring and Summer months.

However, following a disappointing festive period, the Group had to renegotiate a deal with its lenders (namely RBS). It received a significantly lower facility, which bought the firm some time. However, in order to survive until the profitable Christmas period, GAME needed better supplier terms.

It reached out to its publishers, even holding an event at BAFTA for 80 to 90 of its partners to explain what was required in order to see the retailer survive.

Although early reports suggested the meeting was a success, GAME has failed to win over some big suppliers – namely EA, Nintendo, and most recently, Capcom. The firm has since missed out on major release Mass Effect 3, and will not be stocking Street Fighter X Tekken.

The situation has taken GAME to the brink of collapse.

GameStop has been highlighted as the most likely suitor for GAME. It has largely avoided the UK market – even closing its Northern Ireland and England stores in recent months (and instead, launching a website). But the opportunity to instantly become market leader in the country might be an attractive prospect for the firm.

GameStop has no debt and, unlike GAME, has invested heavily in digital markets. Purchasing digital download firm Impulse, flash online games host Kongregate and streaming specialists Spawn Labs.

It also owns the world’s most successful video games magazine, Game Informer.

However, the retailer has declined to comment on the possibility of acquiring GAME.

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