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GAME purchases Multiplay events firm in £20m deal

UK video game retailer GAME has announced the purchase of events firm Multiplay, best known for its Insomnia gaming festival.

Earlier this year, GAME was announced as an official sponsor of the event, but that appears to have simply been a precursor to the Multiplay acquisition.

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The buyout has been priced at £20 million, with £12.6 million being paid in cash, with GAME viewing the purchase as a way into the community events and eSports market.

The Insomnia event was originally launched in 1999 and encompasses a range of video game-related activities, including LAN gaming halls, interactive content and eSports tournaments. The event, which is currently held in the Ricoh Arena, Coventry, had an outstanding year in 2014, with a 60 per cent increase in footfall marking it as the UK’s number one gaming festival.

That success is likely to be behind GAME’s decision to buy Multiplay, with the former company’s CEO Martyn Gibbs adding that there is unlikely to be major changes at the purchased firm.

“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,” he said. “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.”

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GAME will be hoping that the purchase can help arrest its financial woes, after it was revealed that the firm had dropped out of the FTSE 250 following a disappointing Christmas period. The company appeared to have put its economic issues behind them after it announced the closure of 277 stores in 2012.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.