AEG And Eventim To Share Apollo?

There’s no official announcement regarding the breakup and sale of HMV’s music business interests, but there’s London music industry gossip that AEG and German ticketing giant CTS Eventim have been successful in a joint bid for London’s Hammersmith Apollo.

It’s also being said that the rest of HMV’s venue portfolio, which includes The Forum and Jazz Café in London, the Birmingham Institute, Edinburgh Picture House and Manchester Ritz, will go to a management buyout headed by MAMA Group co-founder Dean James.

HMV’s venue and live music business interests are basically what was MAMA Group, which the high street retailer acquired for about £65 million at the beginning of 2010.

The James-led consortium, which is reportedly backed by U.S. private equity firm Oakley Capital, is also understood to have acquired HMV’s festival business, which includes The Next Big Thing, The Great Escape, Lovebox, Global Gathering and High Voltage.

“I am really sorry but still no comment,” said Eventim chief exec Klaus-Peter Schulenberg when asked for verification of the story.

In the middle of March, he’d also declined to comment when Pollstar asked if his company had bid for all or part of the HMV package. The deadline for bids was March 2.

At press time neither James nor AEG had responded to requests for comment.

HMV put its live music industry interests on the block when chief exec Simon Fox’s plan to turn the business into a 360-degree music were hampered by poor trading conditions, a tumbling share price and mounting debts.

The stories circulating London make no mention of how much the deals with AEG-Eventim and Dean’s consortium are supposed to be worth, but HMV was reportedly looking for what it paid for MAMA two years ago.

That would be enough to cut the company’s estimated £180 million debt by one-third and appease the bankers who’ve eased HMV’s borrowing terms and record companies that have extended its credit.

Although the next few days will likely see increased speculation about who’s buying which part of HMV’s music business interests, its ticketing business will now be run by Ticketmaster.

Fox’s company moved into ticketing in 2010 and has since run the business in-house through its retail chain and via

The new arrangement will enable the multi-channel retailer to sell tickets for a wider range of events and increase the number of stores that can offer them.