Sports Direct’s stake in Game grows to 84%

Game Sports Direct
// Sports Direct has bought 83.9% of Game’s shares as it continues to complete its takeover
// Mike Ashley’s retail company will put forward an application to have Game’s shares suspended from trading on the London Stock Exchange
// Game shareholders will need to sell their shares to Sports Direct within 20 business days or run the risk of their shares becoming worthless

Sports Direct’s £52 million takeover of retailer Game Digital has moved a step closer to completion as Mike Ashley’s retail company revealed it now controls almost 84 per cent of the video game retailer.

Sports Direct has also applied to have the Game shares delisted from the London Stock Exchange by August 12.

Ashley’s retail empire also urged remaining Game shareholders to sell up or run the risk of their shares becoming worthless.

Once Sports Direct owns more than 90 per cent of Game’s shares, it will be allowed to automatically buy the remaining stock.

“Game shareholders are urged to accept the offer, as the cancellation of trading and listing would significantly reduce the liquidity and marketability of any Game shares not acquired by Sports Direct,” Sports Direct said in a message to remaining shareholders.

Sports Direct now has an 83.9 per cent stake in Games – comprising shares owned or agreed to be bought and comes after the video games retailer previously agreed to the takeover.

is offering 30p a share for Game under the cash bid, which was triggered after it upped its stake in the video games chain to 38.5 per cent last month.

City rules stipulates that a shareholder must make a takeover bid if their stake surpasses the 30 per cent threshold.

Game advised its shareholders on June 21 to accept the offer, saying that it represents a fair value to the group.

However, Sports Direct has signalled there may be store closures and job losses following the deal amid plans to review Game’s operations and potentially merge some sites into its wider empire.

It marks Ashley’s latest move to expand across the UK high street, having already snapped up House of Fraser, Evans Cycles and over the past year.

Sports Direct was already Game’s largest stakeholder and has been a shareholder in the retailer since July 2017.

It has been working with Game to roll out concessions and its competitive gaming and eSports arenas, called Belong, in which Sports Direct has bought a 50 per cent share of the intellectual property rights.

Sports Direct has previously said that following the deal, it would look to open Belong sites within Sports Direct, House of Fraser or elsewhere, as part of a focus on “the customer experience and experiential retail offering”.

Sports Direct was slated to update the stock market on Thursday, but it has now revealed it would delay its full-year trading update until later this month or even August.

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