Image credit: Flickr/Mack Whale

Retailer gets its Game (Digital) face on as it launches 340m pound IPO

IPO WATCH: Its valuation is a sensible move, but considering retailers' fortunes yesterday, Game's stock market debut is could have been better timed.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 23 Mar 2016

It's the retailer that rose from the ashes, but this won't be quite the miraculous resurrection some had hoped for. Game Digital - the reincarnation of video games retailer Game Group - announced the offer price for its IPO this morning, and it's rather less enticing than many had hoped: it mooted 200p per share, valuing the company at £340m.

The company's shares entered conditional trading this morning (they'll go on the market proper on 11 June). You can already smell the disappointment from analysts: they'd hoped for a valuation closer to the £400m mark.

Under the circumstances, though, we'd say this is rather a sensible move. Consider the less than successful recent listings of the likes of Pets at Home, Poundland and McColl's, the share prices of all of which are still languishing below their original offer prices.

But this is still an impressive turnaround: two years ago, Game thought it had run out of lives. Having entered administration, it closed 277 stores and made 2,000 people redundant. Now it has a new name, 327 UK stores (plus 233 in Spain, where it didn't go into administration), and revenues of £815.7m. Not bad.

Will this one go better? It's unfortunate timing, given the fortunes of retailers yesterday. Not only did Asos shares tumble by a third after it issued a profit warning (which had a knock-on effect on the share prices of other online retailers like Boohoo.com and AO World), but Morrisons founder Ken Morrison told his CEO his strategy was 'bullshit'. Retail stocks are, consequently, not doing brilliantly.

But Game has been more cautious than Pets at Home et al, which bowled straight into a frothy market with valuations most investors could see straight through. Although some will no doubt be spooked by its recent history, there's no reason it can't slay the dragons of its past. Good luck to it, we say.

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