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What is going to happen to Ipswich's Game store after Sport Direct takeover?

PUBLISHED: 15:22 15 July 2019

Sports Direct's �52m takeover of Game Digital is expected to bring store closures. Photo: Archant/PA.

Sports Direct's �52m takeover of Game Digital is expected to bring store closures. Photo: Archant/PA.

Archant

Sports Direct's £52m takeover of Game Digital is nearing completion but the move could lead to store closures across the UK.

Mike Ashley's firm revealed earlier today (Monday, July 15) it now controls nearly 84% of the business.

It has applied to have Game shares delisted from the London Stock Exchange within 20 working days - no later than August 12 - and urged remaining shareholders to sell up.

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Once Sports Direct owns more than 90% of the shares, it will be allowed to automatically buy the remaining stock.

In a message to remaining shareholders, Sports Direct said: "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."

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There are multiple Game stores across Suffolk, including Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.

But 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 Mr Ashley's latest move to expand across the UK high street, having already snapped up department store chain House of Fraser, Evans Cycles and online player Sofa.com over the past year.

On Thursday, his company had been expected to update the stock market on latest trading but this has now been postponed due to complexities in integrating House of Fraser.

Sports Direct was already Game's largest investor and has been a shareholder in the group 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% 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 in the group, "focusing on the customer experience and experiential retail offering".

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