Hilco has confirmed its acquisition of HMV’s UK business in a deal that rescues 2,500 jobs and 141 stores. The restructuring specialist bought HMV's debt in January shortly after the 91-year-old entertainment retailer slipped into administration, effectively giving it control of the group. At the start of the year, HMV UK consisted of some 239 stores and 4,300 jobs, many of which have been lost. Hilco’s buyout is reportedly valued at £50 million.
Hilco CEO Paul McGowan said: “We have spent a number of weeks negotiating revised terms with landlords and the key suppliers to the business, all of whom have been supportive of our plans to maintain an entertainment retailer on the High Street. We hope to replicate some of the success we have had in the Canadian market with the HMV Canada business which we acquired almost two years ago and which is now trading strongly. The structural differences in the markets and the higher level of competition in the UK will prove additional challenges for the UK business but we believe it has a successful future ahead of it.”
Ian Topping, the Hilco executive who will initially run the business alongside existing HMV management, added: “The reaction of the British public to the administration of HMV shows a strong desire for the business to continue to trade and we hope to play a constructive part in delivering that. This is an exciting investment for the Hilco team and we will be able to use some of the developments already progressed in Canada to restore HMV to health. We intend to reverse the earlier decisions to sell tablets and other devices in the stores and to reclaim the space for an enhanced music and visual range.”
Hilco also said it’s in negotiations with a view to re-establishing an HMV presence in the Republic of Ireland after Receivers there closed the business having failed to attract a buyer. 16 Irish stores were shut and 300 jobs lost in the process.