Chart Buys Sumo

Article by Ken Tidwell

By now most of you should be aware that Chart International Ltd has purchased Sumo, the English games magazine written, edited, and published by Mike Siggins. Sumo has been subsumed by Games Games Games (G3), Chart's own games magazine. Mike Siggins will stay on as an individual contributor with eight or more pages of the new G3 being devoted to his reviews and letter column. Unfortunately, Inside Pitch has been tossed.

Chart has not prepared a statement for the press but I thought I might take you through a bit of the history with my own comments and thoughts on the events as they unfolded.

Small Furry Creatures Press principals purchase Chart Hobby Distributors

Date: Thu, 18 Dec 1997 18:14:41 GMT
From: Paul Evans (
Subject: Press Release

Most of you will know that Chart Hobby Distributors is one of the UK's games distributors, dealing mainly with US-published games (and particularly Avalon Hill). In fact the company is also a distributor of models and modelling accessories - miniatures wargamers will recognise the Bellona name, which is one of Chart's products. Some of you will know that Michael Hodge, MD and chief shareholder of Chart, has been looking for a buyer for the company so that he can retire.

Theo Clarke and Paul Evans have agreed terms to purchase Chart. Our plan is to raise the finance by setting up a new company on OFEX. The new company will then buy both Chart and SFC Press. Merging the two operations will enhance both from the synergy between them.

We have started the process to set up the company. If all goes well, we will be seeking investors in due course - we expect the prospectus to be available in mid-January. We'll keep you informed of our progress.

Paul Evans
SFC Press, London, UK - publishers of "Games Games Games" magazine

I was previously unaware of Chart but Paul Evans explained a bit more about Chart's business in later missives. Chart was originally Avalon Hill (UK) Ltd. Chart's current business is the distribution to UK retailers of wargames, RPGs, CCGs and general board games imported from the USA (mainly) . They also distribute models, modelling accesories and components, once again, mainly imported from the USA. The Furries will be adding SFCP's publications, events and mail order business.

I should also point out that Mr Hodge is not a doctor of medicine, he was, instead, the Managing Director (MD), or what Americans would call the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Chart.

Two into One

The following announcement was mailed out to Sumo subscribers.

Date: Mon, 16 Mar 1998 19:56:44 GMT
From: Paul Evans (
Subject: Two into One

As a Sumo subscriber, you will be aware of Mike's commitments to caring for his father and his consequent time pressures. You may also be aware that Paul and Theo are forming a new company. At Mike's suggestion, we have agreed to merge Sumo and Games Games Games with effect from the March issue of Games Games Games.

The new, merged Games Games Games will be a 36-page A4 magazine and will be published ten times a year. It will include eight pages from Mike in every issue. The in-depth reviews and letter column discussions that were features of Sumo will continue in the new magazine.

We plan to produce a final issue of Sumo at the end of February, alongside the first issue of the new Games Games Games, and we will send you both publications.

We are very excited by this and trust you will enjoy the new magazine as much as we will.

(signed) Paul Evans, Mike Siggins

The last Sumo (issue 44), went out on schedule at the end of February bundled with issue 119 of G3. G3 120 is scheduled for publication on April 6th and is planned to increase in size to 40 pages.

The Market (or Leverage Applied)

As a side note, the plan is to float a new, publicly traded company to contain Chart, SFC Press, and Sumo. In the meanwhile, Chart International Limited has been formed. This new, limited liability corporation bought SFC Press (which, I presume, had previously purchased Sumo) and Chart Hobby Distributors. Chart Internation Ltd started operation on March 1, 1998. Their plan is to run as a limited company for a few months, to give them a trading history, before seeking a flotation/listing on OFEX to finance further expansion of the business.

More from Paul Evans (note that the following information dates from before the formation of Chart International Ltd):

We are launching a new company to combine the operations of Chart Hobby Distributors and SFC Press - two organisations that complement each other. We are proposing that a new company, Chart International plc, is formed to be listed on OFEX. Chart International is to raise the funds required to buy Chart Hobby from its founder and current MD Michael Hodge - who will remain an important part of the new company's management team. The new company will be run by Paul and Theo and its main activities will be:

OFEX is a trading facility set up and operated by JP Jenkins Limited (a member of the London Stock Exchange and regulated by the Securities and Futures Authority) to facilitate trading in securities neither quoted nor dealt in on the London Stock Exchange.

For further information consult the SFC Press web site or email Paul Evans (

The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell