GAME Group PLC could be entering its last few weeks of business as rent falls due on the bulk of its properties, unless a buyer can be found within days.
The Sunday Times reported this weekend that Game has placed itself up for sale, appointing Rothschild to find a buyer as its debts mount ahead of rent falling due on its high-street properties. Should Rothschild fail to find a buyer, the chain - which owns both GAME and Gamestation as well as the web-exclusive and recently-shuttered Gameplay brand - will be forced into insolvency.
The news comes as part of the company's continued financial struggles
which have seen it fail to secure distribution rights for new-release games from a raft of publishers, including the much-anticipated limited edition releases of BioWare's Mass Effect 3.
Trade publication MCV
, which has been documenting GAME Group's recent problems, suggests that US retailer GameStop may be interested in purchasing some stores. The company runs a web-based UK retail arm, and previously had a small number of high-street shops in the UK and Ireland before closing them in favour of online-only retail.
However, despite signs that GameStop may be interested in GAME Group's Spanish assets, there's little hint that it's planning to buy its UK stores - despite a knock-down price. Following the publicity surrounding its financial struggles, GAME Group has seen its share price drop this morning to just 1.15p for a market cap of just under £5 million.
That figure might seem like a bargain, but there's a catch: whoever buys GAME Group's assets will also buy its liabilities, in particular its massive pile of debt and outstanding rent payments for its properties. As a result, it will take a company with deep pockets and a real plan for change to consider saving the iconic retailer.
Should GAME Group fail to find a buyer, its insolvency would have a major impact on the state of the industry - as explained in this analysis by Joe
. For the sake of the industry, and regardless of the company's somewhat premium pricing policies and questionable business practice with regards retro stock, let's hope Rothschild is successful.