Lloyds Eyeing HMV Venues?

LDC, the buyout firm owned by taxpayer-backed Lloyds Banking Group, is reportedly in talks to buy some of the assets put on the block by cash-strapped British retailer HMV.

Sky News says LDC, which has investments valued in excess of £2billion ($3.1 billion), is interested in taking over a number of HMV’s venues and artist management firms.

The London music business grapevine also said the remainder of the venues and the management businesses would go to a company buyout led by MAMA Group co-founder and chief exec Dean James.

The latest speculation may not mean that James, who moved to HMV when it bought out MAMA for £65 million ($102 million) in 2010, is out the picture.

Sections of the UK media had said James’s funding would come from U.S. private equity firm Oakley Capital, but LDC also specialises in management buyouts.

In the last six months it’s bankrolled seven of them including telecoms provider Metronet (UK), engineering firm Bifold Group, Showcard Print and Airline Services Limited.

It wasn’t possible to get comment from James at press time.

After the sale of the Apollo, which requires the approval of HMV’s shareholders, the venue portfolio now includes a handful of London rooms such as the HMV Forum, Heaven, The Garage , Barfly Camden, Jazz Café and The Borderline.

There are also regional venues such as the Manchester’s HMV Ritz, Edinburgh’s HMV Picture House, and the HMV Institute in Birmingham.

The HMV festivals up for sale include Lovebox, The Great Escape, Wilderness, Vintage and Global Gathering, which are all in the UK.

Recently, the contract to run HMV flagship venue the London Hammersmith Apollo went to a partnership between AEG and German ticketing giant CTS Eventim.