Game confirms interest in HMV stores

Retailer Game has confirmed it is among 50 potential suitors circling collapsed music entertainment chain HMV.

Game, which was bought out of administration itself last April, has approached HMV administrators Deloitte with an interest in buying a number of shops in order to boost its estate.

It did not reveal how many shops it was interested in, but reports suggest it could bid for up to 45 in locations where it does not yet have a presence.

Deloitte said it has received expressions of interest from around 50 parties, including from other retailers, private equity firms and wealthy individuals.

HMV hit the wall earlier this week after suffering dismal Christmas sales, putting more than 4,120 jobs at risk.

But chief executive Trevor Moore said he was “confident” that management can still secure a future for the 92-year-old business.

DVD and games rental firm Blockbuster, which employs 4,190 staff across 528 shops, went bust just a day later in a dire week for the high street.

Other potential bidders for HMV and its stores are thought to include private equity firm Endless, which is the group that bought The Works out of administration.

Retail restructuring firm Hilco, which owns HMV Canada, and private equity veteran Jon Moulton, through his Better Capital firm, have also been linked.

Game is owned by OpCapita, the group which owned electricals retail chain Comet when it went under before Christmas.

OpCapita’s handling of Comet is under close scrutiny, with the chain going bust less than a year after it was bought by the private equity group.

But 333-strong Game is said to be enjoying a revival following its OpCapita rescue, with sales over Christmas ahead of management expectations, putting it on track for underlying earnings of £20m (€24m) for the year to July.

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