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Buy-Out Saves British Retailer GAME

| 2 Apr 2012 17:22
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A financial acquisitions firm has purchased the bankrupt British games chain and safeguarded the immediate future of its remaining stores.

The past few weeks have been fairly unsettled for The Game Group, Britain's largest specialist games retailer. The business finally folded early last week, a collapse which resulted in the loss of 2,000 jobs and the closure of hundreds of stores. Now, for the first time in 2012, there's good news to report: The Game Group's British operation has been bought over and rescued from bankruptcy by a financial firm, safeguarding the 3,000+ jobs still attached to the company.

OpCapita, a large conglomerate which owns one of the UK's biggest electronics retailers, brokered a deal with The Game Group's creditors which transferred effective ownership of the business to a financial firm called Baker Acquisitions Ltd. This means that, for the forseeable future, The Game Group's remaining GAME and Gamestation stores are safe from closure.

However, the agreement reached between Baker and the restructuring firm overseeing The Game Group's return to solvency does not include provisions for severance- and back-pay owed to the 2,000 employees who were laid off during the company's bankruptcy.

Former employees in the Republic of Ireland were given no information about severance whatsoever, and their occupation of eleven shuttered GAME stores across the Republic is still in effect at time of writing (you can get in touch with them here). No protests over the abscence of severance pay have been reported in the United Kingdom.

Commenting on the deal, OpCapita managing partner Henry Jackson said that, "We strongly believe there is a place on the high street for a video gaming specialist and GAME is the leading brand in a £2.8bn 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," concluded Jackson.

What does the future hold for GAME and Gamestation, then? No details have yet been released on any possible changes to the fundamentals of The Game Group's business model, though the deal indicates that the new owners do not intend to close any more stores in the immediate future. Regardless of how we all felt about GAME, the British games industry as a whole would likely have suffered without the presence of a large and very visible high-street retailer for its wares; the loss of jobs is lamentable, as is the continued severance-limbo faced by the company's ex-employees, but hopefully the continued survival of the chain will mean good things for the British industry.

Source: MCV UK

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