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Hilco seals deal to rescue British music retailer HMV

LONDON -- Restructuring specialist Hilco on Friday bought Britain's most high-profile entertainment retailer HMV, securing the future of the 92-year-old firm and safeguarding 2,500 jobs.

Hilco, which already owns HMV Canada, said it had acquired the business and certain assets of HMV, including 141 stores, 25 of which had been marked for closure by administrators Deloitte. Media reports have valued the deal at around 50 million pounds.

Deloitte was brought in by HMV in January to find a buyer for the firm after a long struggle with declining CD, DVD and video game markets and fierce competition from supermarkets and online.

To try and attract sales it had been focusing on selling in demand tablets and other devices but Hilco said on Friday that move would be reversed and it would look to “reclaim the space for an enhanced music and visual range.”

Hilco, long seen as the favorite to strike a deal for HMV after buying the group's 176 million pounds of debt in January, also said it was in talks with landlords in Ireland with a view to reopening there having closed during administration.

The chain will initially be run by a Hilco team working alongside existing HMV management. HMV's chief executive Trevor Moore was made redundant in February.

“This is an exciting investment for the Hilco team and we will be able to use some of the developments already progressed in Canada to restore HMV to health,” Hilco's Ian Topping said, adding the deal had the backing of landlords and suppliers, all keen to protect a valuable outlet onto Britain's high streets.

“The reaction of the British public to the administration of HMV shows a strong desire for the business to continue to trade and we hope to play a constructive part in delivering that.”

HMV, whose first store on London's Oxford Street was opened by English composer Edward Elgar in 1921, had around 230 stores before going into administration and over 4,000 staff.

In its last full-year results for the year to April 28, 2012, it had sales of 923 million pounds but posted a pretax loss of 16.2 million pounds.

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