HMV has sold its live music assets to a the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group in a £7.3 million deal, according to reports.
The high-street retailer purchased MAMA Group in 2010 for £46 million but has now offloaded a number of venues – including the London establishments the Barfly and Jazz Café, the Manchester Ritz and Lovebox festival – to offload its debts.
The sale also includes the Great Escape and Global Gathering festivals and HMV’s 50 per cent interest in its Mean Fiddler joint venture with MAMA but, according to the Guardian, it does not include the clubs G-A-Y and Heaven, which are being negotiated as part of a separate deal. It also comes six months after HMV sold another of its live music ventures, the Hammersmith Apollo, in a £32 million deal.
HMV recently found itself playing an unwitting role in a stunt orchestrated by the group Abuse Sticks Out, which defaced copies of albums and DVDs by various artists accused and convicted of domestic violence with stickers which read: “WARNING: Do not buy this album! This man beats women!”
The company also sparked debate by telling employees that they were not allowed to have garish tattoos or long hair on display as part of a new “appearance policy” which dictates that staff must be neat and clean – and wear new trainers. HMV subsequently said that ban on body art was introduced to make customers feel more “comfortable” and attract a broader range of shoppers.