Sunrise Records beats Mike Ashley in battle to acquire HMV

// HMV has been acquired by Canadian retailer Sunrise Records
// Sunrise Records boss Doug Putman beat Sports Direct CEO Mike Ashley in the battle
// 1500 jobs safeguarded, but 27 store closures mean 455 redundancies

HMV has been bought out of administration by Canadian music retailer Sunrise Records, saving the jobs of almost 1500 employees.

Sunrise Records boss Doug Putman beat Sports Direct founder and majority owner Mike Ashley in the battle for the iconic British music and entertainment retailer, which went into administration just after Christmas.

Putman will now acquire HMV’s 100 stores across the UK.

However, 27 under-performing stores will close with immediate effect, resulting in 455 redundancies.

Putman’s acquisition comes after Sunrise Records took over around 70 HMV stores in Canada when the retailer collapsed there in early 2017.

“We are delighted to acquire the most iconic music and entertainment business in the UK and add nearly 1500 employees to our growing team,” Putman said.

“By catering to music and entertainment lovers, we are incredibly excited about the opportunity to engage customers with a diverse range of physical format content and replicate our success in Canada.

“We know the physical media business is here to stay and we greatly appreciate all the support from the suppliers, landlords, employees and, most importantly, our customers.”

Administrator KPMG said it would safeguard a further 122 employees at HMV’s warehouse functions to assist in winding down operations.

KPMG joint administrator Will Wright said: “We are pleased to confirm this sale which, after a complex process, secures the continued trading of the majority of the business.

“Our immediate concern is now to support those employees that have unfortunately been made redundant.”

Neil Gostelow, KPMG joint administrator, added: “We are grateful for the support of all key stakeholders including the suppliers whose support throughout this process has been key in securing this sale.”

HMV’s now-former owners Hilco – which bought the retailer in 2013 – had called in administrators from KPMG on December 28, marking the second time in six years that the retailer collapsed.

At the time, the retailer blamed a “tsunami” of challenges for its failure such as rising business rates, dwindling footfall and a rapidly changing physical media market due to the increasing popularity of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify.

KPMG said“several” offers had been made to buy it out of administration, with Mike Ashley emerging as one of the potential suitors.

Ashley’s expression of interest in buying HMV out of administration came after he succeeded in similar types of acquisitions with House of Fraser and Evans Cycles in 2018, and just last week, he successfully bought for a nominal sum.

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