Hilco UK emerges among favourites to give HMV a spin

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The Independent Online

Denby Pottery-owner, Hilco UK, has emerged as the frontrunner to buy HMV out of administration by the end of the month, news that will boost a high street already stricken by administrations in 2013.

The music and film chain's troubles were made worse yesterday when DVD rental chain Blockbuster confirmed plans to close 129 of its 528 stores over the coming weeks.

HMV collapsed on Monday when Deloitte was appointed as the 92-year-old retailer's administrator. The move put more than 4,000 jobs at risk, although HMV's 223 stores continue to trade.

On Friday, Hilco was locked in talks with Deloitte which are expected to continue this week. The restructuring specialist has already managed a turnaround in sales at HMV's Canadian arm since it bought the business from the London-listed entertainment group in 2011.

However, Hilco faces competition from other suitors for the UK business and the structure of any deal is likely to be complex, partly because HMV has many loss-making stores that a new owner is likely to jettison.

The turnaround private equity firms, Endless and Jon Moulton's Better Capital, as well as the restructuring company Gordon Brothers are also interested in rescuing parts of HMV. Game, the video games chain, is eyeing up to 45 HMV stores, while TV presenter Jonathan Ross is rumoured to be fronting a separate bid.

Game itself was acquired out of administration by Opcapita, the investor in distressed businesses, in March. It's chief executive, the US financier Henry Jackson, was the owner of the electricals chain Comet, which collapsed and shut all its 236 stores before Christmas.