MAMA In Buyback Bid?

MAMA Group is once again rumoured to be close to a management buyout from British retailer HMV.

Music business news service Record Of The Day doesn’t mention the source of its information, although rumours that come via the UK music business gossip grapevine have an impressive track record for being accurate.

In the beginning of May it said HMV would sell London’s Hammersmith Apollo to a partnership between AEG and German ticket giant CTS Eventim, and the deal was confirmed on the last day of the month. The Daily Telegraph and Guardian were among the papers saying the partnership paid £32 million for it.

At the same time, the UK business pages were widely reporting that the rest of MAMA Group would likely go to a consortium headed by MAMA founder Dean James, who sold the company to HMV for £45 million at the end of 2009.
Some papers said he’d have to compete with U.S. private equity firm Oakley Capital, while others had Oakley as one of James’s backers.

HMV is said to be wanting to cut its £180 million debt by one-third from the sale of MAMA, which would put the company’s value at one-third more than it was when James sold it three years ago.

Prior to the Apollo deal, the Daily Mail had AEG as the preferred bidder for MAMA, but AEG Europe president and chief exec Jay Marciano has just shelled out on the Hyde Park contract and may be wary of how much value MAMA would add to his up-for-sale company.

The MAMA package includes a handful of London rooms such as the HMV ForumHeaven, The Garage, Barfly Camden,  Jazz Café and The Borderline.

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

The UK festivals up for sale include LoveboxThe Great Escape, Wilderness, Vintage and Global Gathering.

HMV’s response to the MAMA buyback rumour was to confirm that the strategic review of its live business is “ongoing.”