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Electronics Boutique, the UK's biggest games retailer is issuing 17.2 million news shares to fund expansion in continental Europe.

The price for the new issue has not yet been announced - presumably, broker Hoare Govett is sounding out institutional shareholder opinion. No doubt there will be a hefty discount to the company's share price immediately before today's announcement.

EB has moved into Spain and Sweden in recent weeks (picking up pieces after the implosion of Gameplay, a rival retailer).

It reckons that new console formats will stimulate rapid growth in the European games market. And it says that like-for-like sales were up 19 per cent in the 21 weeks to 24 June 2001.

Last month, Rage Software, a UK games publisher, secured a £20m facility, a mixture of debt and equity, also to fund the expected growth surge. ®

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