Buzz Bingo To Close 26 Of Its UK Venues

By Ben Hamill - July 17 2020
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Buzz Bingo To Close 26 Of Its UK Venues

UK retail Bingo giant Buzz Bingo (previously Gala Bingo) says it’s decided to permanently shutter at least 26 of its UK-based gaming halls due to the financial strain caused by the global health crisis. The permanent closures could potentially lead to 573 jobs being terminated and made redundant.

Caledonia Investments, the holding company that currently owns Buzz Bingo, has confirmed that it will soon be launching insolvency proceedings in an attempt to enter into a situation of rescue restructure by way of what is commonly referred to as a company voluntary arrangement, or CVA. What this will bring about is the freedom to exit occupied real estate properties and even to cut rents payable to landlords in an attempt to salvage value and resources and create disposable income. 

Caledonia bought Buzz Bingo in 2015.

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Restructure To Mitigate Damages

The restructure deal will reportedly involve Caledonia putting up £22 million of its own money alongside the £10 million that will be provided by the operator’s creditors by way of the massive restructure agreement.

The process involved in order to officially close the operator’s venues in Milton Keynes, Wolverhampton, Carlisle, and Bournemouth; which process has been scheduled for August 3rd this year; will be voted on by all relevant landlords, lenders and general creditors.

Buzz will however be reopening 91 of its 117 Bingo venues beginning August 6. High-street closure orders caused all venues to temporarily shut their doors to the public around the middle of March, which closures have had a major effect on the livelihoods and incomes of many businesses and individuals, and even now, continue to do so.

Buzz Bingo, even though permitted to soon open its doors to its patrons once more, has voiced the expectation of reduced visitor-numbers now being in the offing due to a lack of confidence over safety issues associated with socialising in an enclosed public space. The operator has said that it will require time and patience to rebuild Buzz Bingo.

Buzz Is A Major Employer

Buzz currently employs around 3,400 people, the majority of whom are now on furlough and relying on the UK government’s job retention relief-scheme.

The operator says it hopes to rely on the CVA restructure to such an extent that it will eventually return to a position of positive commercial growth while at the same time adapting to a new way of doing business in a challenging and very different environment when compared to how things were before. 

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