3,200 jobs saved as Game Group bought by OpCapita

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Nearly 3,200 jobs at struggling retailer Game Group were safeguarded yesterday as part of the business was sold to a turn-around investment firm.

OpCapita, which recently bought electrical goods retailer Comet, has bought 333 shops, administrators said.

The UK operations of the retailer, which trades as Game and Gamestation, collapsed into administration last Monday, triggering 277 store closures and 2,104 redundancies.

Administrator PwC confirmed the sale but would not reveal the financial details. It is thought OpCapita paid a nominal amount, possibly £1, for the assets.

OpCapita managing partner Henry Jackson said: “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.”

The real cost will be taking over the company’s £85m debts. It is understood Game’s lenders, led by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), will have agreed to roll forward the debts at the same time as taking a slight reduction.

OpCapita was among a number of potential bidders for the remaining assets which also included a consortium of existing banks including RBS and American rival Gamestop.

OpCapita, which bought Comet for a token £2, specialises in investing in and turning around stricken retail chains.

Game’s demise followed a string of profit warnings and the failure of nervous suppliers, including Electronic Arts and Nintendo, to go on providing new games.

The retailer had a £21m rent bill due last week and faces a £12m wage bill this weekend, although PwC is expected to honour any wages owed. There is also £10m in VAT and £40m owed to suppliers.

Game suffered a dismal Christmas and was later forced to ask suppliers for more generous trading terms.

But many stopped supplying it with new releases, such as Mass Effect 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken, leaving fans disappointed and adding to the group’s trading woes.

The group has already signalled that losses for the year to the end of January are likely to be around £18m.