HMV bid deadline looms as administrator calls the tune

The fate of HMV, Britain’s most famous music retailer, will be decided within days as a deadline looms for offers to rescue the 97-year-old chain.

Sky News has learnt that KPMG, which was appointed administrator to HMV Retail late last month, has set a deadline of 15 January for interested parties to lodge bids.

Retail industry insiders said this weekend that KPMG had received expressions of interest from several credible parties, and that it was working to secure a viable future for HMV.

However, the chain’s future remains in the balance, with many analysts sceptical that a binding offer to buy HMV outright will emerge.

The music and entertainment retailer, which has been owned by Hilco, an investment firm, for nearly six years, employs more than 2,000 people and trades from more than 125 stores.

Hilco blamed a “tsunami” of challenges for HMV’s demise, and said a slump in CDs and DVDs meant the business was not a going concern in its current form.

If a rescue deal to salvage HMV from administration is to be struck, some form of financial support from leading names in the recorded music and film industries is likely to be needed.

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There is a a deadline of 15 January for interested parties to lodge bids

The disappearance of the last major specialist music retailer on the high street is a fate that major ‎record labels have been keen to avert for years.

HMV, which was then a publicly traded company, originally fell into administration in January 2013.

Hilco, which last year bought Homebase, purchased the group’s debt and acquired the business in a‎ £50m deal several months later.

The chain’s collapse into administration came during a torrid Christmas trading period for the wider retail industry, with one industry survey labelling it the worst for a decade.

Debenhams, the department store chain, saw a sharp sales fall, according to figures released last week, although the turmoil which it is battling against was exacerbated by a coup against its chairman and chief executive led by the Sports Direct International tycoon Mike Ashley.

Comparative winners from Christmas trading included Tesco, the food discounters Aldi and Lidl, and clothing retailer Joules.

A KPMG spokeswoman declined to comment on Sunday about Tuesday’s deadline for bids.

Speaking on the day of its appointment as administrator, Will Wright, a partner at KPMG, said: “For decades, HMV has been one of the most iconic names on the high street.

“Whilst we understand that it has continued to outperform the overall market decline in physical music and visual sales, as well as growing a profitable ecommerce business, the company has suffered from the ongoing wave of digital disruption sweeping across the entertainment industry.

“This has been in addition to the ongoing pressures facing many high street retailers, including weakening consumer confidence, rising costs and business rates pressures.”

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