Sony And AEG Battling For HMV?

Sony Music Entertainment and AEG are two of the companies reportedly bidding for HMV’s live music business interests, which includes 13 venues.

To pacify its bankers, the cash-strapped UK music retail chain with 360-degree music company ambitions has had to cut back its expansion into new areas.

HMV reportedly has debts of up to £180 million ($288 million). Selling its live music interests, which it bought from MAMA Group for £64 million ($102.5 million) in January 2010, could cut that by about one-third.

With its shares at 4.5p, HMV’s market capitalisation stands at about £19.1 million ($30.6 million).

The deadline for second-round bids is less than a month away and German ticketing giant CTS Eventim, Oakley Capital and venue operator Academy Music Group have all been mentioned as being in the frame. The deadline for first-round bids was March 2.

HMV originally put its live music on the block in December. The package includes 13 music venues, with London’s Hammersmith Apollo and The Forum among them, five UK festivals and a successful management company that has Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand.

Although HMV expects to make a full-year loss of £10 million ($16 million), the various music divisions more than doubled their operating profit to £3.4 million ($5.44 million) over the 26 weeks to Oct. 29.