Wednesday, March 14, 2012

U.K. Retailer Game Ain't Got Game--or Games

Troubled UK gaming retailer Game Group is soon to put itself up for sale, according to national newspaper Sunday Times (via). The past week has brought the absence of Mass Effect 3, Street Fighter X Tekken and Asura's Wrath in the company's stock as well as further reports of imminent administration.

The retailer's parent company, The Game Group, announced today that it's currently "in discussions with its suppliers and lenders" to determine if there's a way out of its current financial mess, which has left the firm unable to sell some of today's top titles.

"The Board of GAME is working actively to resolve these issues as quickly as possible," the company wrote to shareholders today--without, that is, noting specifically what those issues are. "This includes ongoing discussions with suppliers, seeking access to the original facility or alternative sources of funding, and reviewing the position of all of its assets in the UK and international territories.

"It is uncertain whether any of the solutions currently being explored by the Board will be successful or will result in any value being attributed to the shares of the Company," it continued.

Game, which has nearly 1,300 stores across Europe and Australia, has watched its financial woes pile up as expenses have soared. In two weeks, the company owes a massive rent payment to landlords. Should it fail to do so, it could enter administration. In the U.K., administration is an insolvency principle designed to help companies pay down debt and stay in business--essentially an equivalent to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S.

Things have gotten so bad that Game was forced to announce late last month that it couldn't fill orders for this year's biggest game so far, Mass Effect 3. Game has also failed to come to terms with suppliers on Capcom's Asura's Wrath and Street Fighter X Tekken, leaving those titles off its store shelves as well.

Investors have fled the stock. Over the last six months, Game's shares have plummeted 65 percent from a high of around 25 British pounds to a low today of 1.22 pounds. The stock's first major plunge occurred late last year when the company announced plummeting sales.

Meanwhile, its U.S.-based rival GameStop is doing just fine. And according to Reuters, which first reported on Game's decline, the U.K. retailer might look across the pond for help from GameStop. Whether GameStop will actually play ball, however, remains to be seen.

SOURCE: That Video Game Blog, CNet

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