Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Jobs saved at Game as investment firm moves for stores

Dozens of jobs are to be saved at struggling retailer Game after its remaining stores in Northern Ireland were bought out.

Last week 110 job losses were announced at 13 stores across the province after the video game firm revealed it had entered into administration.

But the five remaining outlets are now to remain after private investment firm OpCapita announced it had bought 333 outlets across the the UK.

The stores are located in Belfast, Londonderry, Newtownabbey, Craigavon and Newtownards.

In total nearly 3,200 jobs at Game Group were safeguarded yesterday.

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

Henry Jackson, managing partner of OpCapita said: "We strongly believe there is a place on the high street for a video gaming specialist and Game is the leading brand in the £2.8bn UK market.

"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 the company's lenders, led by Royal Bank of Scotland, will have agreed to roll forward the debts at the same time as taking a slight reduction.

OpCapita - which specialises in turning around and investing in stricken retail chains - was among a number of potential bidders for the remaining assets.

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.

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