Sony Music Entertainment is among several suitors that are seeking to acquire the live music business of HMV, the embattled entertainment retailer, for about £65m.
HMV Live's management has started making presentations to potential buyers, including Sony Music, ahead of the deadline for second-round bids later this month.
AEG, the company controlled by Philip Anschutz, one of America's richest men, and Oakley Capital, the private-equity firm behind Time Out magazine, are also bidding to buy the operator of 13 music venues and five festivals.
HMV put its live business – which runs London's Hammersmith Apollo, where Kylie Minogue, pictured, is performing tomorrow – up for sale in December by hiring advisers at Citi. Potential suitors are thought to be willing to pay only a similar amount to the £64m that HMV paid for Mama Group in January 2010. HMV initiated the sale process to help slash its debts of up to £180 million. The deadline for first-round bids was 2 March.
Sony Music is one of the world's largest recorded music companies, with premier record labels, a huge back catalogue and a roster of artists from Paul Simon and Leonard Cohen to One Direction.
AEG owns the O2 Arena in London. It bought the Millennium Dome and sold its naming rights to the mobile operator O2 in 2005.
For the 26 weeks to 29 October, HMV Live more than doubled its operating profit to £3.4m.
When it unveiled a relaxation of its banking facilities with lenders in January, HMV forecast that its net debt would be between £175 million and £180 million for the year to 30 April. The group, which expects to make a full-year loss of £10m, suffered a 9.8 per cent fall in UK like-for-like retail sales for the nine weeks to 31 December.
All parties declined to comment.