Last dance for Bigben

by Lisa Foster
Administrators from Ernst & Young were called in by Bigben Interactive last Friday (April 8th), with the company blaming a poor Christmas trading period due to the console shortages for its financial problems.

Ernst & Young in Manchester has issued a statement claiming: “We are optimistic of achieving a sale of the business and its assets as a going concern.

“This is a successful business with a substantial and loyal customer base. We would like to thank both customers and suppliers for their support during the administration.”

However, industry insiders are not so sure that the firm can actually be rescued. “Bigben has had a turbulent year or so,” one nosetapper told MCV.

“It had fantastic success with Dance: UK, but hasn’t really managed to make a mark for itself since then as a publisher. And you have to ask yourself why its parent company hasn’t bailed it out.”

A spokesperson for Ernst & Year stressed to MCV that Bigben is currently still trading and that the French parent company is unaffected by the insolvency, adding: “The head office is supporting the process and still has a trading relationship with the UK team.”

The Stockport-based company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of French distribution giant Bigben, but has changed its business significantly since it entered the UK market in 2000 by acquiring Planet Distribution.

Two years later it bought the peripherals company behind the successful 4Gamers range. And at the same time, it took the decision to step back from distribution to focus on being a publisher and accessories specialist.

Ernst & Young has revealed that there is no deadline for the period of administration, but offered: “It’s too early to say what will be the actual outcome. We are hopeful that the company can be sold off in its entirety.”


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