LONDON Jan 22 Restructuring specialist Hilco
has bought the debt of HMV, according to sources close
to the situation, giving it a big influence in the fate of the
British entertainment retailer which fell into administration
Hilco, which bought HMV Canada in 2011 and salvaged home
goods firm Habitat, has bought the debt from HMV's lenders Royal
Bank of Scotland and Lloyds, the sources said
HMV, which has over 200 stores and more than 4,000 staff,
had underlying net debt of 176.1 million pounds ($279 million)
The acquisition does not mean Hilco now owns HMV but does
give the group a central role in its future, potentially giving
the 92-year-old retailer and its administrators Deloitte more
time to attract new backers.
Hilco, RBS and Lloyds all declined to comment. Deloitte was
not immediately available for comment.
Deloitte has received over 50 expressions of interest in HMV
including from trade buyers and private equity firms. Video
games seller Game has confirmed it is interest in buying a
number of HMV stores.
Hilco has widely been regarded as a frontrunner to take full
control of HMV due to its relationship with music labels and
film studios through its Canadian business.
On Monday it was appointed to help Deloitte run the business
during the administration process, one of the sources said.
HMV's business of selling DVDs and CDs has struggled in
declining markets and amid increased competition from
supermarkets and online retailers such as Amazon.