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Game pulls through as sale deal agreed

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A deal has been put together to sell the 333 Game stores that remain open after the multichannel retailer went into administration last week, it was announced today. Almost 3,200 jobs are set to be saved as a result of the sale to Baker Acquisitions, a vehicle of private investment firm Opcapita, for an undisclosed sum. Baker will also aim to re-employ some of the Game head office staff who were issued with redundancy notices last week.

OpCapita specialises in turnarounds in the retail, consumer and leisure sector, and in February the company took control of electricals retailer Comet after buying it for just £2 from former owner Kesa. Comet is now led by chairman John Clare, who used to run rival Dixons and has promised to take the company back to its 1980s roots, with an emphasis on low prices.

Henry Jackson, managing partner of OpCapita, said today of the Game Group deal: “We are pleased to have reached agreement with the administrator. We strongly believe there is a place on the high street for a video gaming specialist and Game is the leading brand in a £2.8 billion market in the UK.

“We have assembled a strong team of experienced industry operators to implement the programme of operational change that is needed. There is a huge amount to do but we look forward to the challenge of restoring Game’s fortunes in partnership with its employees and suppliers.”

Mike Jervis, Game Group administrator and PwC partner, said: “We are delighted to be able to secure this business sale and provide some much needed stability for customers, suppliers and employees alike in these uncertain times. The support of these stakeholders has been crucial over the last week and I would like to thank them for their support throughout this difficult period.

“This means that the Game brand will not be another one of the retail names disappearing from the high street in the current difficult climate.”

The news comes at the end of a week that saw 277 of the Game Group’s stores close with the loss of more than 2,074 jobs. Administrators took the step of closing the stores after the games and consoles retailer, which trades under the Game and Gamestation brands, called them in following unsuccessful discussions with its lenders and third parties. Its Game and Gamestation websites were taken down temporarily when the administrators were called in, though today they are up and running, marked as trading in administration.

In total, 5,136 people worked in Game Group’s 609 UK and Ireland stores with 385 in its Basingstoke head office. The £1.6bn turnover company also had operations in Spain, Portugal, France, Czech Republic and Australia.

The failure of the company came after a period in which Game Group had been working to adapt to a digital vision of the future that would include online and cloud-based gaming. Its sales of digital products were growing but in the meantime sales for its PC and video-based games had fallen.

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