The owner of London’s O2 Arena is understood to be the preferred bidder to acquire the live music business of HMV.

HMV Live, which was put up for sale in December to help reduce its rising debts, includes 13 music venues, such as the Hammersmith Apollo and music festivals Lovebox and Global Gathering.

The Mail on Sunday has reported that AEG has beaten off competition from several other interested parties such as venue operator Academy Music Group and private equity firm Oakley Capital. Last week The Independent said AEG was bidding to acquire the group’s live music business, the most profitable part of the struggling retailer’s business, for £65m.

HMV has warned that losses for its full year to April 28 will be higher than expected at £16m. Over the year like-for-likes at HMV Live remained flat, however total sales jumped 5.4%. At its retail division, like-fo-like at