Hope For HMV As Hilco, Owner Of Canada's HMV, Buys All Of The UK Arm's Debt

The hopes of 4,000 HMV staff were thrown a lifeline on Tuesday after retail restructuring group Hilco UK has acquired the debt of HMV, effectively giving it control of the troubled high street retailer.

Hilco already owns the Canadian HMV, and had been thought to be the most logical choice for a takeover after it was appointed to advise Deloitte on keeping the business running through the administration process on Monday.

Although Hilco has not actually acquired HMV, the fact it has bought its debt will pave the way for the company - and the 4,000 employees at risk - for a rescue.

By controlling the debt, Hilco can effectively take control of the retailer, should it wish to. The debt was about £176 million, but many press reports suggested Hilco would have paid much less than this because HMV is in administration.

HMV's administrators Deloitte confirmed last week that around 50 parties had expressed an interest in HMV to Deloitte, including trade buyers and private equity groups.

Game Retail, the entertainment retailer bought out of administration last year by Comet owner OpCapita, also publicly declared it was interested in acquiring about 45 HMV stores.

Better Capital, the buy-out group run by private equity veteran Jon Moulton; Endless, an investment firm focusing on distressed companies; and Peter Dubens, whose Oakley Capital owns part of Time Out, are also interested in all or part of HMV.

HMV fell into administration on 21 January after years of struggling to keep pace with the digital download revolution.

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