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Dixons couples with Gameplay and renames @jakarta stores

Freeserve gets games channel

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Dixons has slithered into bed with Gameplay.com to revamp its computer games business.

The retail giant will be able to grab almost a quarter of Gameplay through the deal, which will see it merge its @jakarta games retail business with Gameplay. The current seven @jakarta shops will be renamed Gameplay and owned by a joint company, with Gameplay outsourcing the running of the stores to Dixons. Further stores are also said to be in the pipeline.

Freeserve, Dixons' ISP, is also involved. It has got a four-year games channel deal for selling and playing games operated by Gameplay on its narrowband, broadband and mobile Internet portals. Freeserve's mobile Internet portal will include a co-branded games service from Gamplay's WAP venture, mobile.gameplay.com, for pay-per-play games and online games sales.

As part of the deal, Dixons will initially get a 12.5 per cent stake in the etailer with 6.8 million shares, worth £14.7 million. It will also subscribe £5 million for another 1.8 million Gameplay shares at £2.71 per share, and has an 18-month option to buy an extra 4.4 million shares at £3.50.

Ian Livingstone, Dixons group finance director and non-exec director of Freeserve, will join the Gameplay board as a non-exec director.

The first @jakarta shop opened in November 1998. ®

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