Bosses Move On MAMA Venues

The bosses of HMV’s live music arm have made a bid to buy the part of the operation that runs London venues such as Hammersmith Apollo and The Forum, according to the Sunday Times.

The paper says they have the backing of Oakley Capital, the private equity firm behind Time Out magazine, which was originally thought to be bidding on its own behalf.

The management reportedly launched the bid April 20 and the paper rates the business at being worth about £40 million.

Just before Christmas, HMV put its live music business – basically the old MAMA group – on the block for about £65 million, which is roughly what it paid for it in February 2010.

HMV is having a tough time, losing £36.4 million in the first six months of 2011, and needs to cut estimated debts of about £180 million.

HMV chief exec Simon Fox’s efforts to turn the retail chain into a 360-degree music business had to be reined back as online competition and music piracy undermined its core business.

The company’s live music business, which includes the venues, a clutch of festivals such as The Next Big Thing, The Great Escape, Lovebox, Global Gathering and High Voltage and a couple of management companies, has been valued at about £65 million.

There have been rumours that the management companies, which have acts including Kaiser Chiefs, White Lies, Franz Ferdinand, The Vaccines and Ash, are about to buckle.

Dave Cronen and Nigel Templeman, who joined their Trust Management to MAMA Group in 2008, are said to be taking it away again.

James Sandom and Cerne Canning, two of they key players at MAMA’s SuperVision, are rumoured to be joining U.S. giant Red Light Management.

Apart from the Oakley bid, the other parties believed to be interested in buying all or a slice of MAMA include AEG Live, Academy Music Group and German ticketing giant CTS Eventim.