Sports Direct buys 26% stake in Game Digital

Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley swoops on video games retailer after profit warning forced by shortage of Nintendo Switch consoles, reports The Guardian.

The founder of Sports Direct, Mike Ashley, has added a near 26 per cent stake in the struggling video games retailer Game Digital to his string of high street investments.

Game Digital said Sports Direct, controlled by the billionaire, had acquired 44m shares, amounting to a 25.75 per cent stake. Game released a profit warning last month due to a supply shortage of Nintendo’s Switch console.

Ashley has built up a business empire by buying stakes in Debenhams, French Connection and the home shopping company Findel, through Sports Direct or investment vehicles.

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 said 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.”

Sports Direct, Britain’s second-biggest sports retailer, has been under fire over its working practices since a Guardian investigation revealed that it was in effect paying warehouse staff less than the minimum wage. A report by MPs later accused Ashley of running Sports Direct like a Victorian workhouse.