Oakley ponders HMV Live bid

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The Independent Online

Peter Dubens' Oakley Capital is among the private equity firms and trade players considering a bid for the live music business of HMV, the troubled entertainment retailer.

HMV put the operator of 13 venues, including London's Hammersmith Apollo, up for sale last month to help pay down its debt pile, which jumped by 8 per cent to £164m at the half-year stage.

Oakley Capital owns Time Out magazine and Headland Media group, but Mr Dubens made his name selling companies such as 365 Media and Pipex Communications.

But the investment bank Citi, which is running the HMV Live sale, has been approached by several other interested parties. The formal sale process is set to begin next month.

HMV Live, which also owns the Lovebox music festival, more than doubled its operating profit to £3.4m over the 26 weeks to 29 October.

HMV acquired the venue owner Mama Group for £60m two years ago but hopes to sell the business for substantially more than this figure.

The group sold its Waterstone's business for £53m in June to the Russian oligarch Alexander Mamut.

HMV made a loss of £45.7m over the 26 weeks to 29 October, following losses of £27.4m last year.