Well, here’s a curveball. According to The Sun, ASDA has emerged as a potential alternative bidder for HMV, and not to acquire the flagging retailer’s defunct shop units to turn into mini-ASDA food stores, but to take on the brand and its streamlined network of entertainment outlets.
As much previously reported, restructuring company Hilco, which already owns HMV Canada, has been the favourite to take over HMV UK ever since the British entertainment retail firm went into administration in January, not least because it bought up most of the HMV Group’s debts, meaning Hilco bosses are in talks with administrators Deloitte as both bidders and creditors.
But, says The Sun, ASDA, owned by US supermarket giant Wal-Mart, is also interested in acquiring the HMV business. As with Hilco, it would look to operate a streamlined network of HMV stores across the UK, but would also likely set up HMV concessions in its bigger supermarkets, it having been one of the few supermarket chains to have been stepping up its entertainment product operations in recent years.
The HMV brand could also be used by ASDA in the online space, where Tesco is busy developing its Blinkbox brand as an alternative identity in the entertainment and content domain, partly in a bid to take on Amazon which is increasingly treading on the supermarkets’ territory in mail-order shopping.
The Sun quotes a City source as saying: “Asda has been looking at HMV and it’s not about taking on a few stores to convert into supermarkets. They’ve been looking at taking on the brand – the business”.
Just how serious ASDA’s interest in HMV really is, and how it would stand in a competition for the business with Hilco, isn’t clear, though we are expecting an announcement on all this pretty soon, because administrators will likely want to have reached some closure on the whole HMV furore before the next big rent payment day later this month.
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