Ben Parfitt . Business . Monday 2nd March 2015 . 09:07
Retailer GAME has made a big move into the eSports and events space by acquiring Multiplay.
The deal has been priced at £20m, the initial £12.6m payment of which is coming directly from GAME’s existing cash. The company says the move will help expand its community events and eSports program, as well as increase its digital PC games footprint.
Multiplay is best known for its Insomnia consumer event, which last year was attended by over 67k people. The show combines competitive gaming, a retail expo and gathers together many big-name YouTube stars.
Multiplay founder and CEO Craig Fletcher will remain in charge, reporting to GAME CEO Martyn Gibbs. The company does not expect to shed any jobs as a result of the news.
“The acquisition of Multiplay is an exciting and strategically important step for GAME,” Gibbs said. “The world of live events, eSports and multiplayer gaming is growing rapidly and one we have been looking to enter for some time.
“By acquiring Multiplay we are benefitting from nearly two decades of experience, during which time Multiplay has built an exceptional reputation and leading position in its markets. Multiplay has a great management team and a fantastic culture – their passion and enthusiasm for games is infectious. Like Multiplay, our communities are at the heart of our business, and together we will be able to move even faster to grow and develop our services for both gamers and suppliers in the UK, Spain and around the world.”
Multiplay’s Fletcher added: “GAME and Multiplay are both passionate about games and gaming, building valuable communities of gamers and putting customers first. Over the years we’ve worked closely with the GAME team on many occasions and come to know them well.
“Our businesses are culturally aligned and I am looking forward to joining and working with Martyn and the team. Being part of GAME means that together we can offer our communities so much more than we ever could have independently and can more rapidly realise our growth aspirations.”
The news comes as GAME’s dramatic recovery from the woes of 2012 has stumbled for the first time. In January the company warned that diminished margins on products would lead to lower that expected profits. Then yesterday The Financial Times reported that GAME faces demotion from the FTSE 250 following the resulting drop in value.