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Game Group: OpCapita Sale Safeguards 3,200 Jobs

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

Nearly 3,200 jobs at struggling retailer Game Group were safeguarded today 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 on Monday, triggering 277 store closures and 2,104 redundancies.

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 a £2.8 billion market in the UK.
e programme of operational change that is needed.

"We have assembled a strong team of experienced industry operators to implement th
"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 £85 million 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 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 £21 million rent bill due last week and faces a £12 million wage bill this weekend, although PwC is expected to honour any wages owed. There is also £10 million in VAT and £40 million 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.

Game agreed fresh lending facilities with banks last month and began seeking access to alternative sources of funding earlier this month.
The group has already signalled that losses for the year to the end of January are likely to be around £18 million.

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