HMV update: 'Number of firm offers' received

HMV

HMV’s administrators KPMG have given an update on its attempts to save the ailing High Street entertainment retailer.

After the deadline for bids expired yesterday (January 16), Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator of HMV, confirmed that several firm bids had been received, raising hopes of a rescue plan for the last big music chain standing in the UK.

“Since our appointment as joint administrators, we have received significant support from key stakeholders, including employees, suppliers and creditors, as we have endeavoured to trade the HMV business,” said Wright. “We’d like to thank everyone for their support during this time, in what remain challenging circumstances.

“We can confirm that a number of offers on various bases have been received, and we now need to evaluate these further over the coming days,” he added. “Given the commercially sensitive nature of this process, we will not be providing further detail at this time. We will continue to endeavour to trade all stores while discussions with all the relevant stakeholders continue.”

Attention will now centre on the possible identity of those bidders and which one will win approval. The only firm to have put its head above the parapet to date was discount chain BuyVia, but its bid collapsed after it transpired it had not actually been in touch with the administrators.

Those speculated to be in the running include French retailer Fnac; Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley – already involved with other ailing High Street businesses such as House Of Fraser and Debenhams – and, perhaps most intriguingly, Amazon. The online retailer does run some bricks-and-mortar book shops in the US, and owns grocers Whole Foods, although it would be a big leap to take on a chain like HMV.

Whoever the winning bidder, many in the music industry now seem confident HMV will survive in some form, albeit likely to be a reduced one. Any deal is likely to be contingent on suppliers, including record labels and distributors, taking a hit on stock already delivered to the retailer on assignment, although many are likely to consider that a price worth paying. Earlier this week, BPI CEO Geoff Taylor told Music Week the music industry "would love to see HMV continue"

HMV went into administration for the second time just after Christmas, after a torrid Q4 on the High Street. Hilco previously acquired the chain out of administration in 2013.

* To read Music Week’s full investigation into the turmoil at HMV, see this week’s print edition of Music Week, or click here. To subscribe and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.

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