HMV set to buy Mama Group

HMV has become the frontrunner in the bid to take control of live music business Mama Group, after rival bidder SMS Finance, pulled out of the race.

HMV

The music and entertainment retailer made a £46m bid for the group, which owns the Hammersmith Apollo in London just before Christmas, and has the full backing of the company’s board. It acted after Mama found itself seeking a new owner.

It comes less than a year after HMV and Mama formed a joint venture, which owns 11 music venues and an interest in events such as London’s Lovebox festival.

If successful, the proposed buyout of Mama already HMV’s joint-venture partner on a number of venues, will give the company a bigger slice of the thriving live events market, that also includes the Edinburgh Picture House, London’s Jazz Cafe and the representation for big-name artists, including Franz Ferdinand.

Mama notched up pre-tax profits of £4.8 million in the year to July 31. As well as the live music business, it also has a management business, which represents bands including the Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand and White Lies.

Last month, HMV and Mama Group announced they were launching an annual live music event to showcase breakthrough music talent across London .

Speaking exclusively to Marketing Week last November, HMV group chief executive Simon Fox said HMV has found a way to turn around its marketing model based on the premise of ‘getting closer’ to performers.

Last year, HMV bought 20 Zavvi stores and the rights to 11 live music venues including the Hammersmith Apollo. It has also bought a 50% stake in online music retailer 7Digital. It recently agreed a partnership with Curzon Artificial Eye to trial in-store cinemas and a partnership with Seatwave to collect tickets in-store.

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