Entertainment retailer HMV has sold its majority stake in the G-A-Y Group to G-A-Y nightclub Founder Jeremy Joseph, it has been announced.
In what he called “the biggest risk of my life”, Joseph now solely owns 100 per cent of the brand, including nightclub Heaven, following a multi-million pound loan from Metro Bank.
Last year, HMV sold live music company Mama Group in the hopes of clearing its debt to Juno Newco for £7.3 million, though the sale did not include the G-A-Y Group as discussions over a possible “separate transaction were ongoing”, according to a spokesperson.
Joseph noted that HMV had made a strategic decision to sell the group 11 months ago and as the other stakeholder, Joseph had first right to buy them.
However, he was initially unable to secure investment due to the collapse of talks with a possible business partner and was forced to use personal funds to keep the nightclub open in recent weeks, following HMV’s move into administration last month.
In a statement on the club’s Facebook page, Joseph made a dig at the financial sector, noting that “banks are putting such restraints on loans that it’s near impossible for businesses to expand.”
He added: “With all this going on, in a time of recession and with so many companies going into administration, was this the right time to take biggest risk of my life, borrow millions of pounds, put my home & company up as a guarantee?
“Well on Tuesday (January 21st) I signed my life away, I’ve taken my biggest risk, going it alone, no more business partners, just me, if this goes wrong, I lose everything.
“But risks are there to be taken; I have a responsibility to the 200 people that G-A-Y employs, I have a responsibility to the customers who have been loyal to G-A-Y and I have a responsibility to all those people who believe in me and have backed me.”
HMV’s venues arm has now been entirely sold on, following the sale of West London’s Hammersmith Apollo in June last year for £32 million, and it is understood that the retailer will close up to 100 of its high street stores in the coming weeks.