AEG Tipped For HMV

Entertainment giant AEG is the preferred bidder for HMV’s live music business, according to the Daily Mail.

AEG runs London’s O2 arena, the world’s busiest venue, and is also bidding to manage and run entertainment in the city’s new Olympic Stadium.

The HMV portfolio is on the block for an estimated £65 million ($103 million) and German ticketing giant CTS Eventim, Sony Music and Oakley Capital are also reportedly among the bidders.

The London live music industry grapevine has rumoured that a partnership between AEG and Eventim would likely get control of London’s Hammersmith Apollo, the flagship of HMV’s 13 venues, while the remainder would go to a management buyout headed by Dean James.

James was co-founder of MAMA Group, which sold out its music business empire to HMV for about £65 million in 2010.

His bid to buy back a large part of what was MAMA, which also included such UK festivals as The Great Escape, Global Gathering, Lovebox and High Voltage, is believed to have been backed by Oakley.

At press time it wasn’t possible to get comment from AEG, Eventim or James.

HMV put its live music industry interests on the block when chief exec Simon Fox’s plans to turn the business into a 360-degree music company – which included the purchase of MAMA Group – were hampered by poor trading conditions, a tumbling share price and mounting debts.

The auction, which is being run by U.S. banker Citigroup, is aimed at reducing the company’s £180 million ($285 million) debt by about one-third.