Antitrust regulators in the UK have provisionally cleared GAME Group’s acquisition of rival British video gamse chain Gamestation, following a three month long investigation – although a final decision is not expected until January of next year.
GAME acquired Gamestation
in May for £74 million ($151m), increasing its number of stores in the UK and Ireland to 627 – out of a global total of more than 1,000 outlets and franchises. GAME executives have indicated that they expect the Gamestation acquisition will result in annual savings of £7 million within two years.
The Competition Commission found that the purchase of the 217 Gamestation stores in the UK would not result in “substantial” lessening of competition in video games, consoles and accessories in the country – even though Gamestation is the only other national chain specializing solely in video games.
The Commission concluded that competition from supermarkets such as Tesco, online retailers such as Amazon and independent stores was still significant. Other non-specialist High Street chains such as Woolworths and WH Smith were also seen to offer ample competition.
The most contentious issue for the Committee was the question of second-hand game sales, with chairwoman Diane Coyle having to cast the final vote on the matter, after concern that few other retailers offer facilities for trade-ins and sales of pre-owned games.
“Customers appear to switch between different types of retailers to look around for the best deals,'' said Coyle in a statement. “Several competitors are expanding rapidly and customers are increasingly making use of alternative retail channels.”