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UK: HMV offloads G-A-Y and Heaven venues as store closure speculation grows

11:36 04 February 2013

The administrators of HMV have sold the retail chain

The administrators of HMV have sold the retail chain's last remaining live music venues

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AROUND 200 jobs were secured today after HMV’s administrators offloaded the retail group’s last remaining music and entertainment venues.

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HMV’s majority shareholding in G-A-Y Group, which comprises a number of bars and Heaven nightclubs, has been sold to the founder and other shareholder in the business, Jeremy Joseph.

The sale comes amid speculation that HMV’s administrator Deloitte could announce the closure of between 60 and 100 HMV music stores this week, resulting in the loss of around 1,500 jobs. According to weekend media reports, HMV will be left with a business of between 120 and 160 shops.

Having sold a number of music and entertainment venues last year, including the Hammersmith Apollo, HMV was left with the G-A-Y bars and Heaven nightclubs.

Mr Joseph said:”HMV made a strategic decision to sell certain businesses, which included the sale of their shares in G-A-Y, almost a year ago.

“I am delighted to have acquired 100% ownership of the business that I founded 20 years ago and to have secured the future of my 200 employees.”

Deloitte joint administrator Rob Harding said: “We are pleased to have completed the sale of HMV’s shareholding in G-A-Y to the natural purchaser of this stake so shortly after our appointment.

“This will benefit the creditors of HMV and we wish Mr Joseph the best in the beginning of a new era for G-A-Y.”

HMV went into administration last month, putting more than 4,120 jobs and 223 stores at risk, but hopes of a rescue deal have been raised after restructuring firm Hilco - the group behind HMV Canada - bought the company’s debt.

It is thought that Hilco has opened negotiations with suppliers and HMV’s landlords as part of a plan to salvage the group.

Hilco reportedly wants to rescue about half of the stores in the UK as it looks to repeat the strategy that has seen it turn around HMV’s Canadian arm, which it bought in 2011.

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