Sports Direct boss could link film and music retailer to other parts of his high street empire

Mike Ashley is considering a rescue bid for HMV, the music and film retailer that collapsed into administration last month.

The Sports Direct boss is understood to have held talks with suppliers to the ailing business about a rescue deal, which could see him link the HMV brand to other parts of his high street empire including House of Fraser, Sports Direct or potentially Game Digital, in which Sports Direct owns a 25% stake.

A successful deal for HMV’s 125 stores would see Ashley grab another major slice of the high street following Sports Direct’s acquisition of the bike specialist Evans Cycles in October and department store chain House of Fraser in August, both of which were bought out of administration.

While Ashley takes a look at many potential retail deals, and Sports Direct holds stakes in multiple high street chains including the struggling French Connection and Debenhams, ‎sources told Sky News – which first reported Ashley’s interest in HMV – that he was serious about buying the music retailer.

Ashley has also made clear his interest in Debenhams, which is seeking to refinance its debts by the end of this month after a torrid 2018. Ashley has offered to bail the department store chain out with a £40m loan on terms that would give him the whip hand over the company, in which Sports Direct already owns a near 30% stake.

The tycoon has also been linked with a potential bid for Hamleys, the toy retailer, which was put up for sale by its Chinese owner, C.banner in October. It reported a £9.2m loss the year to 31 December 2017, compared with a £1.7m profit the previous year.Advertisement

Ashley is understood to have tabled a bid to HMV’s administrators at KPMG last week, as have a number of interested parties thought to include Elliott Advisors, which bought the Waterstones bookstore chain last year.

KPMG declined to comment, while Sports Direct did not respond to a request for comment.

A North American music retailer is also said to have expressed an interest in some HMV sites. One source said this could be Sunrise Records, which took over about 70 HMV stores in Canada after the chain went bust there in 2017.

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