Belfast Telegraph

Sports Direct secures 54% backing for Game bid

The group said its offer for video games retailer Game Digital is now ‘unconditional’ but will remain open for acceptances until July 30.

Sports Direct said its offer for Game Digital is now ‘unconditional’ (Yui Mok/PA)
Sports Direct said its offer for Game Digital is now ‘unconditional’ (Yui Mok/PA)

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct International has secured majority backing for its £52 million bid to take over retailer Game Digital.

The group said its offer for the video games retailer is now “unconditional” after winning approval from shareholders owning nearly 16% of shares.

Sports Direct said that together with its 38.5% stake, it now owns or has received backing from shareholders representing 54.3% of Game Digital – more than the 50% bar set for the deal.

It said its offer is now “declared unconditional in all respects”, but will remain open for acceptances from investors until the 1pm deadline on July 30.

Sports Direct is offering 30p a share for Game under the cash bid, which was triggered after it upped its stake in the video games chain to 38.5%.

Game advised its shareholders on June 21 to accept the offer, saying that it represents a fair value to the group.

But Sports Direct has signalled there may be store closures and job losses following the deal amid plans to review Game’s operations and potentially merge some sites into its wider empire.

It marks Mr Ashley’s latest move to expand across the UK high street, having already snapped up department store chain House of Fraser, Evans Cycles and online player Sofa.com over the past year.

Sports Direct was already Game’s largest investor and has been a shareholder in the group since July 2017.

It has been working with Game to roll out concessions and its competitive gaming and eSports arenas, called Belong, in which Sports Direct has bought a 50% share of the intellectual property rights.

Sports Direct has previously said that following the deal, it would look to open Belong sites within Sports Direct, House of Fraser or elsewhere in the group, “focusing on the customer experience and experiential retail offering”.

PA

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