French publisher Ubisoft is in danger of losing up to €1.5 million ($1.98m) in the collapse of UK retail chain Woolworths and its distribution business EUK, and their possible resulting inability to pay debts.
The collapse of Woolworths has been front page news in the UK, the highest-profile retail victim of the global economic crisis so far in the country. Since the 1980s the stores have been unconnected to the original U.S. chain of the same name, and other similarly named franchises around the world.
It is the collapse of EUK which has had the greatest effect on publishers though, with Nintendo in particular blaming stock shortages of some Nintendo DS titles on the company’s troubles. Recent reports in tabloid newspaper The Sun suggest that Microsoft could lose £26 million ($38.7m)
and Nintendo around £21 million ($31.3m), as a result of the distributor’s collapse.
Speaking to the UBS Annual Global Media Conference, as reported by website GI.biz, Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez said that the company was in discussion with Woolworths administrators
over ways to recover between €1.2 and 1.5 million.
"Before the Woolworths incident we had two defaults, one in Germany and one in France, for about EUR 3 million, but since we were covered by about 90 per cent the impact for us should be about EUR 300,000," said Martinez.
Martinez had previous indicated that the company "felt safe with Woolworths" after receiving a payment of around €5.7 million ($7.54m). "It was not so funny that when we had the last call, I was saying that Woolworths was okay, and then they filed five minutes afterwards," remarked Martinez.