HMV have completed selling the Hammersmith Apollo for £32m in order to diminish debts.
London’s historic music venue, originally a cinema when opening in 1932, has been sold to a new joint venture, Stage C Limited. The company is a combination of AEG, an American live music giant, and CTS Eventim, a German ticketing firm.
Hammersmith Apollo was previously owned by the Mama Group before being acquired by HMV in 2010 for £46m. Mama also own a number of other venues including HMV Forum, Barfly Camden and Jazz Cafe to name a few.
HMV purchased the Apollo in 2010 for £46m.
HMV shareholders welcomed the deal in order to combat internal debts of £168m. The deal is thought to loosen up some of HMV’s financial strains and reduce debts. HMV chief executive, Simon Fox, explained, “The sale will enable HMV to extend its bank facilities, strengthen its capital structure and ensure a strong future for the group.”
By selling the ownership of Hammersmith Apollo, HMV have been able to extend their £220m banking facility to 2014.
The remaining HMV venues are thought to be sold over the coming months in order to further decrease debts and focus on re-building their retail chains. Sony are reported to be interested.
UPDATE 13/08/12: In a bid to re-build their retail chain, HMV will introduce in-store pick ups of online orders. The additional service aims to compete from online rivals, offering customers the chance to speed up receiving items. The group will reveal a new CEO and finance director expected in early September.
UPDATE 15/08/12: Along with in-store pick ups, HMV is due to launch a ‘social media’ cafe in an attempt to boost sales. The cafe will allow users to connect to the internet and communicate through a HMV host. Mobile phone chargers and other facilities will be provided in order to increase interest in the music store. Pick up click and collect services will also be provided within the cafe.