Game on for Game Group: it's announced a new IPO

IPO WATCH: Game Group's new float comes two years after going into administration. It's like something out of Call of Duty...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 23 Mar 2016

Is Game Group a flesh-eating zombie, a la Call of Duty: Black Ops, or just one of those video game characters who never runs out of lives? Either way, just two years after it sank into administration, the retailer (which – you guessed it – sells video games) has announced plans for a £400m float.

The plan is to rename it ‘Game Digital’ in time for the IPO (futuristic). It’s hoping to raise £12m, floating 35% of the business. Elliott Advisers, the activist investor that played the hero role in the first-person shoot-‘em-up that was its rescue, will sell down its 90% stake.  

It’s a turnaround worthy of its very own video game: when Game went into administration in 2012, it closed 277 stores and made more than 2,000 people redundant. Now it’s got 327 stores and 233 in Spain (where it didn’t go into administration), and posted revenues of £815.7m in the year to January, with adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £57.7m.

That’s partly down to the launches of two big consoles: Microsoft’s Xbox One (ironically the Xbox’s third iteration), and Sony’s PlayStation 4 (which is actually the fourth PlayStation). Most importantly, Game reckons it now has a 33% share of the UK market by revenue. Considering it’s competing against the likes of Amazon, that’s not too shabby.

Martyn Gibbs, Game’s chief executive, said the retailer had received ‘tremendous support from the industry’.

‘As we enter a new era of gaming, with ever more content and ways to buy and play, the business is incredibly well-placed to continue to grow.’

Time for a power-up, as they say in the business…

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