Embattled computer games retailer Game has put itself up for sale in a last-ditch bid to stave off financial collapse.
Its quarterly rent bill is due in a fortnight and failure to pay its landlords could push it into administration, jeopardising 10,000 jobs and wiping out investors.
The Sunday Times newspaper said advisory firm Rothschild has been appointed to find a buyer for the business, which includes 600 UK shops, but that completing a deal in such a short time-frame will be difficult.
The retailer's trading difficulties deepened in recent weeks, despite it agreeing revised lending facilities with its banks last month.
But the loan was not enough to reassure suppliers, with Game reportedly losing the rights to sell keenly awaited fighting game Street Fighter X Tekken.
Last month the retailer told gamers it would not be selling popular sci-fi game Mass Effect 3, supplied by Electronic Arts.
The report said Deloitte has been lined up to handle any insolvency process which could see Game's UK operations put through a pre-pack administration in order for some or all of its estate to be sold on quickly.
The company, which has 1,300 stores worldwide trading under the Game and Gamestation brands, suffered a dismal Christmas with like-for-like sales down 12.9% in the eight weeks to January 7, blamed on a lack of new consoles and a squeeze in consumer spending.
Game has already signalled that losses for the year to the end of January will be around £18 million. It declined to comment on the speculation.
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