Mike Ashley eyes Game with 26% stock purchase

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Mike Ashley Game

Mike Ashley has set his sights on Game Digital by purchasing a significant stake in the retailer to add to his high street portfolio.

The Sports Direct owner and billionaire has reportedly bought a 26 per cent stake in the video game chain, equating to 44 million shares.

The purchase marks the latest in a stream of investments in rival high street chains, for which Ashley has gained a reputation.

He has also been continually edging up his stake in Debenhams, sparking speculation of a takeover bid.

“Game is pleased that the strategic value of the group has been recognised by Sports Direct through this acquisition of a 25.75 per cent stake,” Game said in a market update.

“The group looks forward to working collaboratively with Sports Direct to explore the clear opportunities that a constructive partnership and collaboration can deliver for all stakeholders in the gaming, live events and rapidly growing e-sports markets in which it operates.”

READ MORE: Game’s profits will be “substantially below” expectations

In the past Ashley has also used Sports Direct to buy up stakes in JD Sports, House of Fraser and most recently French Connection and Agent Provocateur.

His latest investment in Game, which recently issued a profit warning due to struggling with Nintendo Switch sales, has also sparked speculation of a possible takeover. It is understood Ashley could see potential in the retailer’s growing e-sports offering.

This speculation has already boosted Game’s share price by 23 per cent to 24.25p, bringing its market value to £33.74 million.

Elliot Advisors is understood to own a 40 per cent stake in Game, after it engineered the public listing of the company in 2014, and will be Ashley’s key obstacle should he consider an official offer.

Ashley has been embroiled in a £15 million court case this week in which he is accused of promising to pay the sizeable sum while drunk in a pub, before vomiting in the fireplace.

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