Sunrise Records buys music store chain HMV — but 27 British stores will close
Sunrise bought Canadian HMV locations in 2017 and now will own the rest of the company
Canadian music store chain Sunrise Records has struck a deal to buy British retailer HMV out of bankruptcy in a deal that will keep most of the locations in Britain open.
Founded in 1921, HMV grew to become one of the biggest sellers of music in the world, especially after it expanded to Canada in 1986. But the chain has been hit hard in recent years by the rise of online music streaming options.
The company went into corporate restructuring late last year, and a number of bidders came forward to buy the company. Among them was Sunrise Records, a Hamilton-based music store chain led by Doug Putman, which bought HMV's Canadian assets in 2017.
Putman has now put forward a successful bid to buy out the rest of the chain.
"We are delighted to acquire the most iconic music and entertainment business in the U.K.," he said in a statement.
"We know the physical media business is here to stay, and we greatly appreciate all the support from the suppliers, landlords, employees and most importantly, our customers."
The chain has 128 locations across Britain, with about 2,000 employees. Under the deal, at least 100 of the locations will remain open. The plan is to continue to operate them under their existing banners of HMV or Scottish based Fopp and not convert them to Sunrise Records. But 27 locations, employing some 455, will be out of a job.
Details of which stores are destined to be shuttered are not immediately available, but almost 1,500 store and head office employees will keep their jobs as part of the transition.
Christian Stadler, a management professor at Warwick Business School in Coventry, England, said while Sunrise's purchase of HMV is "excellent" news for anyone preferring to buy music from a shop, rather than streaming or online, it would be foolish to think there is "scope for considerable growth. HMV's new owners need to focus on carving out some sort of niche to ensure a future for the company."
With files from The Associated Press