Beleaguered music retailer HMV may be saved from bankruptcy by Buyvia, an online discount club with more than 200,000 members in the UK. The proposed plan would save a number of retail stores and use Buyvia's expertise to overhaul HMV's digital presence.
HMV opened its first gramophone store almost 98 years ago in London, eventually expanding to Ireland, Canada, the United States, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Declining music sales turned the once leading retailer's fortunes around, however, with a 2013 fall into administration leading to the closure of all of HMV Ireland's stores.
Turnaround specialist Hilco Capital took a controlling stake in HMV and sought to streamline the company by selling off additional international interests.
HMV entered administration again on December 28, 2018, with some analysts predicting that the company would be liquidated absent interest from a deeply committed buyer.
"HMV has been a major player in the retail entertainment industry for nearly a century," said Buyvia representative Amy Jordan. "While the company has undeniably struggled in recent years, we here at buyvia feel that plenty of progress can easily be achieved. We are now engaged in talks concerning how some of HMV's most significant retail presences could be saved from closing up shop forever. We also believe that Buyvia is perfectly positioned to turn HMV into a far more competitive and capable online retailer, as well."
English composer Edward Elgar opened the first store in what would become the globe-spanning HMV empire in London in 1921. Now commonly regarded as the first notable composer of classical music to give the then-novel gramophone the respect it was due, Elgar grew his fledgling business steadily over the years until his 1934 death, including by selling recordings of his own works.
Starting in 1966, HMV began expanding beyond London, while also competing fiercely with upstart rivals like Richard Branson's Virgin Megastore, which opened in 1976. A series of acquisitions in the 2000s expanded HMV's reach further, even as the entertainment retailing industry was becoming more challenging.