HMV on track for summer flotation

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The Independent Online

HMV Media, the high-street retailer in which EMI has a minority stake, is pressing ahead with plans to list on the stock market by the summer.

The group operates 500 music stores around the world and also owns the Waterstone's book chain and is expected to be valued at about £1bn.

The flotation, which will be timed to take advantage of improving market conditions, will see Britain's largest music group sell its entire 42.7 per cent stake. EMI, which is in the throes of a drastic restructuring and is axing 1,800 jobs, is expected to book just £184m from the sale after net debt of £474m is stripped out.

Alan Giles, HMV's chief executive, said yesterday: "We've never made any secret of the fact that this is a business that would look to come to the public market as soon as conditions are right."

HMV Media was spun out from EMI in 1998 via a leveraged buyout. Advent International, the French venture capitalists that own the rest of the group, is thought likely to retain a minority holding.

While EMI declined to comment on its plans, at its full-year results last month, the company said it was considering the sale of its stake in HMV, which is not core to its main business.

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