Game saved from administration

More than 3,000 jobs have been saved at the struggling retailer Gamer after an investment firm bought part of the business.

Private equity firm OpCapita has bought 333 shops run by the computer games chain, saving 3,100 jobs.

When Game collapsed into administration earlier this week, 277 shops were closed and 2,104 staff made redundant.

OpCapita specialises in turning around troubled retailers and last year it bought troubled electrical goods retailer Comet for £2.

No sale price has been disclosed but OpCapita will take on £85m of debt owed by Game to a syndicate of banks led by RBS.

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 £2.8bn 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.”

Tadhg Enright, Sky business reporter, said: “A lot of challenges will remain for OpCapita for turning Game around.

“It is not an industry that has gone out of fashion – video-gaming is still very much on trend – but the way in which people are playing video games is changing.

“Big console makers like Nintendo and Sony aren’t relaunching their consoles as often as they used to. More people are playing games over the internet, and of course the internet is what has been very bad for Game and other retailers such as HMV.

“The types of products they sell lend themselves particularly well to being sold on the internet. Game, like HMV, was seen as being a bit late to the game in terms of developing its online presence.”

Administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) had been searching for a buyer for the business, which has run up a string of unpaid bills.

A £12m wage bill was due at the end of March. There is also a £21m rent bill outstanding, £10m in VAT and £40m owed to suppliers.

PwC is expected to honour any wages owed.

Game’s collapse followed a string of profit warnings prompting suppliers, including Electronic Arts and Nintendo, to stop providing the business with new stock.

Shares were suspended on Wednesday after falling from more than 70p at the start of the year to under 1p.