Skip to main content

HMV bought by Hilco in £50m rescue deal that saves 2,500 British jobs

Iconic entertainment retailer HMV has been sold to restructuring specialist Hilco in a £50 million deal tipped to save some 2,500 British jobs.

Hilco has long been touted as a potential saviour of the 92-year-old chain, having hopped into bed with administrators Deloitte following the erstwhile High Street giant's collapse in January.

Confirmation of the rescue appears to secure HMV's existing UK real estate, compromised of 141 stores including 25 previously slated for closure. Hilco also manages HMV's Canadian operations.

The news will no doubt be greeted with raised glasses across the music and film industries, where there is a strong desire to maintain a High Street retail presence.

"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," said Paul McGowan, chief executive of Hilco.

"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," he added.

According to reports, HMV will now be run by a combination of sitting executives and newly-appointed management prised from Hilco's ranks, with the firm indicating that its future strategy includes plans to scale back on hardware sales and re-establish the brand's presence in Ireland.

Formerly of the Steinhoff Group, Ian Topping will lead HMV's attempted revival.

"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," he commented.

"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," Mr Topping added.

Hilco's purchase of HMV follows Gordon Brothers Europe's recent rescue of Blockbuster. The two firms - as well as High Street photography specialist Jessops - entered administration in early-January as they struggled to compete against online retailers. At the time, HMV boasted 223 UK sites and employed more than 4,100 staff.