Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Games Workshop Sold?


Has Games Workshop been sold?  Sources say so.

For the past year I have been telling people that Games Workshop has been setting itself up for a sale.  Laying off expensive staff, cutting expenses and raising prices to show more profitability.  Mark Wells, the CEO, leaving was another sign.  And Larry from BoLS agrees with me.  We have talked about this for a while now.  All the signs were there that GW was on the block.  After all, Kirby & company have squeezed all the profitability they can out of the company.  Now the company has to rely on sales growth, which, in a poor economic environment and with product prices at extremely high levels, a canny insider would know that the stock won't keep going up.  And there were some strange large sales of stock a few months ago.  And the stock has increased 16% in the past three months.


Now I have a yet unconfirmed source, telling me that the deal has happened, and simply hasn't been announced yet.  I have tried to tap into my sources at GW, but nothing. 



Games Workshop has been highly secretive with its new releases, insisting on secrecy for dubious reasons.  They claim hype dilutes their sales, causing people to lose interest in the actual product when it finally comes.  Total nonsense, but it is what they claim.  (Tell the movie industry this...or any business for that matter).  Maybe if they had enough product for everyone on the day of release people would buy on the hype and not lose interest over the two or three weeks it takes to get the new releases at their FLGS.  

Or, maybe GW has another reason for secrecy.  Maybe they are trying to clamp down on scuttlebutt for this very situation.  GW is very serious about their secrecy.

So for now we have to wait for word from Mt. Olympus.

Loken

42 comments:

daboarder said...

they are a public company and have not issued a press release to the market or their own shareholders, NO they have not been sold.

Anonymous said...

That's a naïve comment. Just because it hasn't been publicly announced yet doesn't mean that a deal hasn't been finalized. The timing of press releases regarding the acquisition of publicly held companies is tightly controlled so as to have the greatest or lightest impact to stock prices (depending on the expected direction).

Natfka said...

that email was not from an employee.

Michael R said...

You can't secretly buy a publically traded company.. GW was sold long ago to the stock holders.

Farmpunk said...

SandWyrm and I have also been anticipating an announcement to finally come out for a while now.

something's been fishy with corporate behavior, and there are only a few things that cause the types of behaviors GW has been exhibiting. a Sale is one of them, and the most likely.

The deal is probably done all but the signing of final papers, and the press disclosure.

then Kirby can retire with a nice golden parachute.

daboarder said...

Anonymous,

If the deal has been finalised, not made public, but a person is passing that information on then that person is in massive breach of the law. If the deal is that close to being finalised then GW will have already planned out the press release. Until you see that press release this is all just BS

daboarder said...

look there has been no public offer, nor a recommendation by the board. Not Sold!

Loken said...

Gary, so the email that got someone fired was not a GW email? It was some other company?

Anonymous said...

The obvious reason for GW's secrecy regarding releases is New Line Cinema and The Hobbit game. Obviously there's other reasons, but considering GW was responsible for the early leak of the Nazgul pictures back in the LOTR days I'm pretty sure NLC wants to keep images of Smaug and other important scenes from leaking and considering they could crush GW like a bug with breach of contract penalties and even pull the license I think it's been made apparent to GW to make sure they run a tight damn ship as far as leaks go.

So yeah, this easily tranlates them into shutting down all leaks to ensure that the stuff that could severely cripple them as a company don't happen.

Natfka said...

It was the Games Workshop newsletter for Eldar, and a lot of France got it a day early (as I reported on the site).

So no, the source just received it early along with a lot of other people and was not an employee of Games Workshop.

However, you may be on to something regarding the sale. I just received something as well on it. going to go live with it.

daboarder said...

Don't be stupid naftka, if it is genuine and not the press release, then its insider trading

Anonymous said...

Sounds like bs to me. Generalised facts usually means bs.

Natfka said...

Something is going on. A long time source of mine has chimed in.

daboarder said...

which is even more reason to keep your nose clean

daboarder said...

http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/GAW:LN/news

Michael said...

I know in the US, for a publicly traded company to be bought or sold the offer of purchase MUST be made publicly. That being said, I also know that it is perfectly acceptable for an interested party to approach the company in question and inquire about the possibility of buying it and to do all the leg work to make an offer to buy in private. So at least the US you can do everything shy of actually make an offer to buy a company out and it can be all in private negotiations, but the actual offer to buy has to be made publicly. I don't know but it's possible the UK as a similar allowance, which would explain all the business moves and why there's been no announcement.

Loken said...

Gary, will correct when I stop driving.

Loken said...

Rather than try and figure it out Gary, I just deleted it.

Anonymous said...

Having studied the history of acquisitions in graduate school, usually they are made under an NDA. Meaning the board can't talk about them and they are officially kept secret until the details are finalized. And invariably someone on the board leaks them to the press since enticing other organizations to come in and bid and drive up the price is the only prudent thing to do for shareholders.

Lots of people either threaten to sue or do file lawsuits, most never go anywhere.

Rumors of acquisitions are of course also not uncommon and these rumors could easily explain the gain in share price even if no real talks are in progress.

It's entirely plausible than the exec team has just decide to harvest the market as aggressively as possible before the industry is disrupted by 3d printing. Of course trying to sell is not mutually exclusive to this plan. Frankly if I can think of this I'm sure they did.

The only real question is who is a big enough sucker to buy the company for a price they will sell for?

Clayton owen said...

3d printing has been around for years, it suffers poor quality and slow production. It's not even a threat to gw Who can cast thousands of models a day. How much do you think it would cost to have enough 3d printers to keep up with GW demand. Too many. And that's why it will never be a threat.


People keep on about 3d printing like its a new thing, it really isn't.



Anonymous said...

Saying that 3D printing will NEVER be a threat is a fairly short sighted thing to say; the reason 3D printing has drawn so much attention recently is rapid advances. Alongside these advances, you have the fact that the price of 3D printing is fair guaranteed to go down over time - see mobile phones, computers and normal printers for reference.

Anonymous said...

This is why its fake, its against the law to do the way its being described.

Also people seem to not understand how you takeover a public company, you cant just make a deal with the board to buy the shares, shareholders still have to decide to sell their shares for the price offered.


From The takeover code
S2.2 When an announcement required
(a) when a firm intention to make an offer is notified to the board of the offeree company by or on behalf of an offeror, irrespective of the attitude of the board to the offer;

Warlord22 said...

This is great new!

IF true. ;)
16% growth means that the stockholders might for once be satisfied and GW can stop hikeing up the prices. Or will they?

Warlord22 said...

Regarding 3D printers
They are not designed for high volume Production. They are designed for low quantitys. You make the master models with a 3D printer not the final.
That they have gone down in cost doesnt change much of the cost per nodel ratio.

warhead01 said...

I think it's a lot more to do with surviving very bad times where people do not have as much disposable income. Meaning I see their "insidious" new practices and rules for sale as a way to manage their money and stock. Remember when they used to have an enormous bitz range. They said that in the long run that had hurt them. I guess just by having a lot of product that they were not moving. In a way their current practices remind me a lot of that. The less they have to maintain the less money they spend all at once and don't recoup.
But I guess we will just have to wait and see.

SandWyrm said...

@Warlord22

You only make resin masters with 3D printers. Or tests of digital designs. Or final prints of custom stuff.

If you have a 3D model for plastic production, you just send it to the mold makers and let a robot machine the mold directly from the file.

SandWyrm said...

GW certainly seemed to be setting itself up for a sale earlier this year. But I think if that was true, then the buyer dropped out for some reason. As if there was a sale, we'd have heard the announcement sometime in March. Certainly by now, at any rate.

If a deal fell through, GW is probably looking for another buyer before they blow through the rest of their back-catalog of finished products. Because their numbers won't look as good after that.

This outreach to you might be a part of that effort. Since (coming from my sales experience) the best way to interest a buyer is to pretend that someone else is interested too.

SandWyrm said...

@Daboarder

Its only insider trading if you are trading on insider info. Or if you're providing info to someone else to trade AND you get something out of the deal.

Tylermenz said...

In the UK, Shareholders have to approve the company being bought. As a GW shareholder, i can assure everyone that they are not currently sold or voting is not underway in any way. As far as backroom talks go, i dont know.

Anonymous said...

I heard Hasbro was buying them, but that's just speculation. Though with the strange sales of stock, some one could gain a controlling share without a sale, right?

Anonymous said...

I hope GW sell, The new owner my stick to a story (time line). Or may just mess it all up. time will tell. i would like to sell a 40k movie thou ;-)

Silverwolf said...

The thing all of you saying "But it's a public company!" seem to forget is that regardless of being a public company, back-room sales DO happen, and it's generally done by 1 party or collection thereof quietly gathering a 51% share in the business and then quickly pushing through a sale.

If GW really DO want to sell, they'll find a way.

Honestly, if it means new management, I hope it DOES sell, and perhaps the new management team can pull their heads out of their collective asses and cut the isolationist business practices.

Scott said...

I am far from an expert on such matters, but one thought did cross my mind... In my business, when such a business is sold, there is a certain amount of 'Goodwill' factored into the sale price, meaning likely ongoing healthy turnover after the sale completes...
What strikes me as odd here is that 'recent' GW practices and policies have turned away a great many past customers (you just have to read this on the various hobby blogs to get a feel for this fall out..) so to my mind this is hardly building up any 'Goodwill'...

just my 2 cents worth...

Silverwolf said...

Thing is Scott, I think if the right people took over, and changed GW business practices, there is plenty of potential to turn things around in a big way.

A large part of their problem is that they slow decline of players is the result of business practices that have happened for over a decade; Where they compensate for lack of sales due to price, by pushing prices even further up. Essentially alienating and pushing away their own clients.

If they dropped prices by a fairly large margin (Considering what 3rd parties have been able to on-sell their product for while STILL making money), and did a decent advertising campaign declaring the fact and that they were trying to broaden the player base, i think you'd find a lot of players flocking back to their products. At the end of the day the only reason many of the players that have stopped playing, stopped, was due to the ever increasing costs of pursuing it simply being to much.

I have over $1500 in sprues sitting un-touched for a large project, which may simply now never happen because I can't find the motivation to get it all assembled, because there's nobody left to play against. If they bring the prices back down, making them more accessible to a much broader player base, I think you'll find they'll actually end up making more money in the long run.

Of course their management team is apparently comprised of chimpanzees because none of this seems to ever have crossed their minds... (ie; "Lets not compete with our 3rd party sellers by matching prices, lets stop them from being able to sell and push our prices higher!").

Anonymous said...

@Silverwolf
Thats not how it works under the UK law.
You can not quitely buy up a 51% stake in a company.

If at anypoint one holder gains 30% of shares they musy by law make it clear if you are planing to takeover the company.

And again its not the board decision to sell, in the event of an offer being made the can recomend to shareholder to take the offer or not. I would really come down to the 1 private holder and the 6 investment firms that hold a 56.4% stake

Anonymous said...

@Silverwolf, but I think there is the poison pill thing in UK - when you hit 30% you are supposed to make an offer for the rest, or sell down. (at least that is how I remember it being presented to me). GW itself also has rules that make it harder to surprise anyone (I think you have to inform the board as soon as you get to like 10%, and notify them of any changes past that - up or down)
Unlikely, but I hope it would not be a corporate entity. It would suck the rest of the life out. But a return to a bit more creative cycle (maybe the golden glow of the good old days - hey I'm old) would be a good thing.

Anonymous said...

As far as the 3d printer debate goes, One person can not match the output of GW, but since you can get a printer for 2-3k that will do the trick, Private individuals could make their own. Hell if GW sold a program for say 2k that would let me print off minis I would buy it.

clown-shoes said...

@Loken gw are under massive pressure from new line cinema and their respective partners to keep details of the Hobbit and it's sequels secret. Failure to prevent/withhold/reduce leaks would result in gw losing their exclusive contract. You know that and everyone else should know that. Subsequently gw are taking quite extreme action against parties that breach that agreement.

Anonymous said...

IF such a deal was happening it would have to be released according to the law! Not even GW is stupid enough to mess with their obligations conderning publishing financially important information. Hence such speculation is utter nonsense.

Stucarius said...

People should not necessarily be excited by any sell of GW under the current circumstances.

They have been engaged in a bizarre process of selling codex and model releases on a monthly cycle or less for several months now and this rate of release is unsustainable when compared against their product line as a whole. They would have to think they could sell everyone new codices every 2 years to maintain this rate. Obviously that cannot happen.

So if a sell is happening and this rate of release cannot be sustained then what is going on?

I speculate that the new controlling owner is not interested in maintaining the old table top systems and is either planing to move to a different format like collectable and cliky gaming and or they are purchasing GW for its IP and not to continue sells of table top products.

If you will think about this for a minute before reacting you will realize how much sense this might make. It allows GW to boost its stock with artificially bloated sells numbers and if a company were buying GW to get its table top gaming business do you think they would like the company selling through its entire development portfolio for that part of its business before the sell happens?

I think not. GW is releasing its already developed and produced product lines that are essentially ready to go as fast as it can before the sell happens. Ultimately the new company is not interested in this part of the business and its existence offers GW no real value at the table.

Now if this sells happens pay close attention to who takes control. They will no doubt come out initially with statements that this means no "real" change in the direction and business model of GW and its customers should not be concerned.

Do not hang your hate on this because that, depending on the buyer, could very well just be them protecting the market for the IP while they position themselves for changes that can be presented to teh customer base and following. Or protect the value of the IP while it sells rights for elements of the IP to other parties.

Anonymous said...

wel a explenation for the speed of the codexes could be explaint if count it like this:

every 4 yours you geth a new rule book for wh40k and for whfb. That are 48 months.

1 rulebook wh40k
1 rulebook whfb
15 codexes whfb (if you do them all)
15 codexes wh40k (if you do them all)
4 specialsit games (one a year)
4 hobbits(one before and one after the movie)
8 expension codexes(2 a year like: (apocalipse, cityfight, codex expansions......)

total 48 months

its a wiled guess of course but its a way to maybe explain it

cartao psn said...

Saying that 3D printing will NEVER be a threat is a fairly short sighted thing to say; the reason 3D printing has drawn so much attention recently is rapid advances. Alongside these advances, you have the fact that the price of 3D printing is fair guaranteed to go down over time - see mobile phones, computers and normal printers for reference.

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