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Mastertronic sells up to Dutch partner

Deal provides security for 2009, but Payne confirms job losses necessary due to current economic "mess"

Value publisher Mastertronic has sold a stake of its business to Dutch firm Hermans Group, in a move that it claims will provide security and growth for 2009.

Managing director Andy Payne said that a number of staff will be leaving the company, while Payne and partner Garry Williams will remain with the business long-term.

"The whole team have worked their socks off to make this deal happen, in what have been extraordinarily challenging circumstances," said Payne.

"But, we have crossed the line now and we are able to move on in a positive fashion. This really is great news for the team and we are working with people we have worked with for three years, so I really feel we have got to know them and that counts for a lot in this game."

The company now plans to begin regional sales from its offices in Holland, Germany and Denmark.

Payne confirmed that a small number of staff will be made redundant, admitting that the current economic climate is cutting into all businesses, not just Mastertronic.

"Sadly, we have made one member of staff redundant last week, Paul Hyslop, who has been a valued and loyal member of the team. In addition one of our producers, Chris Gardiner left at the end of November to relocate to Switzerland and three further members of staff will leave us at the end of December.

"These chaps will be missed, but we needed to address our operating costs in the face of very challenging trading conditions," he detailed.

According to Payne, this is the most challenging year the industry veteran has experienced in the business, as publishers and distributors make staff cuts and closures.

"These are challenging times for everyone and every business, indeed these are the most challenging times I have known since I started the company 20 years ago.

"But this is not a problem exclusive to Mastertronic. Just look at the mess at so-called market leaders such as EUK, as well as the staff cuts seen at large publishers such as THQ and EA and the closure of Gamecock.

Companies that are not seriously assessing their business run the risk of "oblivion" said Payne, adding that Mastertronic has made the right move by teaming with Hermans Group.

"We believe we have addressed the issues we face in a proactive manner by selecting a partner who is well financed and has a trading history in this market and will concentrate on aspects of our business that actually deliver profit.

"Any private or public company which does not look to their fixed costs and operating profits right now runs the risk of oblivion as this recession takes hold in 2009. It is my responsibility to act decisively and act now and I have done that. Although we are reducing our operating costs, we will retain a total headcount of 45 people and remain committed to our publishing, sales and distribution activities and our wide range of customers and suppliers," he concluded.

Mastertronic brands include MAD, Sold Out, PC Gamer Presents, Just Flight and Blast Entertainment.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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