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Rallying to the rescue of HMV music stores

MUSIC labels and film studios are reportedly planning to throw their weight behind a rescue deal for collapsed retailer HMV.

MUSIC labels and film studios are reportedly planning to throw their weight behind a rescue deal for collapsed retailer HMV.

Entertainment giants including Universal Music, Warner Music and Sony are planning to offer HMV suitors generous credit terms and cut the price of CDs and DVDs to help keep HMV’s presence on the high street, according to The Sunday Times.

They are fearful the demise of HMV – the last specialist music and entertainment retail chain – will lead to even more pressures on the industry as supermarkets and online firms such as Amazon compete to slash prices.

It is thought turnaround group Hilco – which already owns HMV Canada – is currently among the favourites to rescue HMV and is said to have been locked in talks with administrators Deloitte on Friday.

At stake is the group’s 92-year-old heritage, more than 4,120 jobs and 223 stores.

There was pain for 760 staff at failed DVD and games rental firm Blockbuster at the weekend, when administrator Deloitte announced it was closing 129 of its 528 stores in the coming weeks.

Both firms hit the wall within 24 hours of each other last week in a devastating blow for Britain’s retail sector .

But there are around 50 potential suitors circling HMV, and its chief executive Trevor Moore has said he is “convinced” that the chain’s future can be secured.

Game, which was bought out of administration itself last April, has confirmed it is interested in buying stores. It did not reveal how many shops it was looking at acquiring, but reports suggest it could bid for up to 45 in locations where it does not yet have a presence.

Other potential bidders are thought to include private equity firm Endless, which is the group that bought The Works out of administration, and private equity veteran Jon Moulton through his Better Capital firm.

Hilco has already helped turn around sales at HMV’s Canadian arm since it bought the business in 2011.

It is best known for its recent rescue of the furnishings group Habitat, while it also owns the Denby pottery firm.

Support from suppliers would be crucial to a revival of HMV to fight against the might of supermarkets and internet rivals.

HMV bosses last week praised the “amazing support” of suppliers, which came to HMV’s rescue in January 2011 with a deal which helped the retailer shed some of its huge debt pile.

Universal also has another vested interest in seeing HMV survive – it inherited the liability for rent for 16 HMV stores when it acquired EMI last year.

At stake is the group’s 92-year-old heritage, more than 4,120 jobs and 223 stores

 

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