HMV Festivals In The Shop Window

HMV had a chance to put its festival business in the shop window when Lovebox took place in London’s Victoria Park June 15-17.

Compared to its venue chain, the outdoors – which also include such UK gatherings as The Great Escape, Wilderness, Vintage and Global Gathering – are a lower value item.

The latest edition, which had Hot Chip, Friendly Fires, Kelis, Lana Del Rey, Grace Jones, and Holly Johnson, pulled about 20,000 per day. Prospective buyers will be mindful that Lovebox has expanded from one day to three days during the course of its 10-year history, but for the last three years the site capacity has been 50,000.

There are conflicting reports regarding who wants to buy some or all of what HMV has up for sale, with some reports suggesting turnaround companies are standing in line to buy its debts, a move that could give them control of the High Street music group.

HMV is revising its terms with its lenders and a deal would depend on them wanting to get rid of their risk.

The firms circling HMV’s debts are said to include Hilco, once seen as a potential bidder for HMV, which eventually bought the troubled music retailer’s Canadian interests.

Other reports suggest that LCD, the buyout firm owned by taxpayer-backed Lloyds Banking Group, is interested in at least some of the assets HMV’s put on the block to cut its estimated £175 million debt.

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

After the London Hammersmith Apollo was sold to a joint enterprise between AEG and German ticketing giant CTS Eventim, the London live music business grapevine has been saying the rest of the venue and festival portfolio – basically what was once MAMA Group – would go to a management buyout led by MAMA co-founder and chief exec Dean James.