Game rescue imminent

OpCapita, the investment firm that recently bought electrical goods retailer Comet, is stepping in to buy what is left of Game Group following the harsh cuts imposed by the administrators last week, according to the BBC. The deal will be formally announced tomorrow.

The firm is taking control of 333 stores across the Game and Gamestation brands. The move will safeguard 3,100 jobs for the time being; 277 stores closed last week, and in excess of 2,100 jobs were lost as a result. OpCapita had been in talks to buy all of the group’s UK operations before the firm entered administration, but failed to reach a deal with the banks that were propping the group up. A source close to the matter but not authorised to speak about it told GameSpot that “OpCapita should have completed the deal before Game went into administration but didn’t, due to the banks and their lack of leadership.”
Game Group–which ran both Game and Gamestation stores in the UK and mainland Europe–employed around 10,000 people globally before going into administration last week. The firm had a turnover of �1.6 billion ($2.6 billion) in the 12 months to January 2012, but had struggled with cashflow. Several high-profile disputes with suppliers had laid the firm’s troubles bare, and EA’s decision to stop supplying the group with new stock shortly before the release of Mass Effect 3 was widely seen as the death knell.
Richard Wilson, chief executive of UK development trade body TIGA, was pleased by the news and its implications for the UK games industry. “This is good news for GAME and for UK consumers,” Wilson said, before offering some advice to the new owners. “Given the rapid transition to digital gaming with consumers spending money on platforms such as Steam, Origin, the App Store, PSN, XBLA and Android market, Game will have to develop a digital strategy–fast,” he said.

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