Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley has emerged as one of the suitors bidding to rescue HMV from administration.
Ashley has held talks with some of HMV’s key music and entertainment suppliers with a view to acquiring the collapsed chain, according to Sky News.
HMV called in administrators KPMG just three days after Christmas following a turbulent period of trading, leaving 125 stores and more than 2,000 jobs hanging in the balance.
The retailer’s owner Hilco blamed a “tsunami” of challenges for its demise. In addition to rising costs on the high street and decreasing footfall, the rise of music and video streaming services such as Nextflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime have hit demand for physical entertainment products.
However, such challenges have not deterred Ashley from expressing an interest in buying the business. The billionaire is reported to be among a handful of parties to have lodged formal offers with KPMG ahead of its deadline for bids of January 15.
Ashley has already bought House of Fraser and Evans Cycles out of administration through his Sports Direct business, while the sportswear giant is also a major shareholder in French Connection, Debenhams and Game Digital.
It was suggested this weekend that Ashley could pursue a move to merge Game with HMV, should he successfully acquire the music chain.
KPMG declined to comment on the identity of bidders for HMV. Sports Direct could not be reached for comment.
Ashley’s reported interest comes as the tycoon continues to gain increasing power on the high street.
Earlier this month, he ousted Debenhams’ chair Sir Ian Cheshire and chief executive Sergio Bucher from the retailer’s board after voting against their re-election.