Controversial Sports Direct and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is planning ‘great synergies’ between his existing business and Game. After snapping up a 26 per cent stake in the struggling retailer, Ashley told Sports Direct shareholders that he plans to marry up the two businesses.
In a statement obtained by PCR from Sports Direct’s annual results meeting, Ashley told shareholders about his plans for Game. "It appeals to me because I think that there could be some really great synergies with Sports Direct," Ashley said during his presentation.
What the ‘great synergies’ prove to be remains to be seen. It could simply mean tying up distribution channels to keep costs down or sharing warehouses as another cost-cutting measure. Or maybe Ashley is planning to sell Game products in Sports Direct and vice-versa. But more excitingly, it could mean that Sports Direct and Game are about to collaborate on an esports venture.
The presence of Ashley and Sports Direct at Game is already having a strong impact. Game shares rose by more than 15 per cent to 28p on the news, and later traded at 26.5p (up 9.3 per cent), giving it a market value of £47m. Game said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange that it was aware Sports Direct had taken ‘significant strategic equity stakes in a number of retail and brand businesses across both the UK and US’, and that it was “pleased that the strategic value of the group has been recognised by Sports Direct”.
It added: “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 esports markets in which it operates.”
Whichever direction Game and Sports Direct take, having Ashley on board is bound to give the gaming retailer greater presence, even if it just in connection to the self-proclaimed power drinker’s latest binge.