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Business News

HMV sale of Waterstone's approved

HMV got the go-ahead for the sale of its Waterstone's book chain today after the deal received the overwhelming support of shareholders.

The ailing retailer is selling the 296 store-chain to Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut for £53 million as it looks to secure its immediate future.

Based on votes lodged before today's meeting in London, investors owning 99% of the company's shares consented to the deal. It means the transaction is on track to complete by Tuesday.

Proceeds from the move will help the company pay down some of its £170 million debt pile and buy some time as it looks to reposition the business, which has been rocked by competition from supermarkets and internet downloads.

Lenders made completion of the Waterstone's deal one of the conditions of new banking facilities worth £220 million through to September 2013.

Mr Mamut plans to reposition Waterstone's, which employs 4,500 people, as a regional and local community-orientated bookseller, although he has not said whether this will result in store closures.

HMV hopes to revive its core business by selling more gadgets such as iPads and iPods and developing its live entertainment division.