Interactive Gamer NetPlayTV’s Founding Chief Logs Out

Chief executive Martin Higginson, who had ploughed millions in to converged telly-and-internet games firm NetPlayTV, has stepped down after the company recorded higher losses and issued more stock to raise investment. He has been replaced by MD Charles Butler.

Former Monstermob chief Higginson came aboard in 2006 when, investing his stake in the company then called Stream Group from three percent to 11 percent, he became CEO.

Higginson had since invested plenty more, putting in nearly £2 million in 2008 to claim over a quarter of NetPlayTV.

The company has been very active under Higginson. Specialising in serving interactive-powered gambling TV shows through TV channels, it bought, took over VMtv’s Challenge Jackpot and struck agreements to televise engaging games on ITV (LSE: ITV), STV and Five following Ofcom’s relaxation in rules surrounding gambling on TV.

But AIM-listed NetPlayTV has also needed to go on finding investment money. Since the CEO upped his stake, the company last year issued new shares worth nearly a third of its equity to raise £12.8 million last year, and this September it reported a 146 percent bigger half-year loss of £7.9 million because the Bingo Stars game it launched on ITV1 had not succeeded.

That led the company to opt to seek a restructure involving cost cuts and another share issue, in which Higginson had also participated, which raised £2.5 million this month. Higginson’s stake reduced to 7.86 percent last week.

NetPlayTV says Higginson is leaving “to focus on the increased activities of his own investment company, M Capital Investment Partners LLP”. New CEO Butler is a qualified chartered accountant and former CEO of a sportsbetting service which he sold to Bet365.