Game zeros-in on bid deadline

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The Independent Online

Game Group has set a deadline of Friday for first-round bids to acquire its overseas business, amid speculation that it faces a combined payment to suppliers of up to £250m this month.

The embattled computer games retailer, which has a market value of £23.1m, has hired advisers at Rothschild to sell all, or part of, its international operation. Game has 663 stores overseas, including in France and Australia, but the division made an operating loss of £15.8m for the year to 31 January 2011.

The group, which has 610 shops in the UK, is thought to have deferred some payments to suppliers, but a source close to the company said there is no better indication of Game's ability to trade than the statement issued last Thursday. Then, the retailer said it expects to meet its banking covenant tests on 27 February after its six lenders relaxed the terms of its loans. Game expects to make a loss of £18m for the year to 31 January 2012, despite the Christmas popularity of games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.