There might just be life in the old dog yet: Nipper, the mascot who has peered into a gramophone in HMV shop windows for more than 90 years, appeared close to being saved in a £50m deal that will safeguard 2,500 jobs and up to 140 branches of the UK's last major high street DVD and CD chain.
Hilco, the restructuring specialist, is expected to sign an agreement on Friday morning to acquire around 130 HMV-branded stores and nine outlets that trade under the cut-price music brand Fopp.
Major music labels and film studios are also understood to back the deal and have agreed new supply terms with HMV, according to Sky News. They are keen to keep a major distribution channel for the entertainment industries on the high street and a rival to Amazon, iTunes and UK supermarkets. HMV's landlords are also reported to back the deal.
HMV called in administrators from Deloitte in January but hopes of a rescue deal were subsequently raised just days later when Hilco bought HMV's £176m of debt for a reported £40m. It was announced in February that 66 of HMV's 220 shops would close over two months, at the cost of nearly 1,000 jobs.
No one from Deloitte was available to comment. An HMV spokesman declined to comment.
The chain is expected to be run by a combination of incumbent HMV and newly appointed Hilco executives.
The HMV chain, founded in 1921 and famous for its Nipper the dog trademark, still holds a cachet for many people. HMV had about 35% of the CD market in 2012, a market that is albeit dwindling.
Prior to falling into administration, the company had 230 stores in the UK. But its business has struggled in declining markets and amid increasing competition from supermarkets and online retailers. The company had also been struggling with debts for more than two years when it called in the administrators, having been hit by a weak economy in the runup to Christmas.
Hilco, which has successfully turned around the performance of HMV's Canadian business since buying it two years ago, also has plans to re-establish the brand in Ireland by reopening a store on Dublin's Henry Street. The retailer's 16 outlets in the country were closed three months ago.
The restructuring business has made millions by sucking up the assets of dying brands including Woolworths, Habitat and Borders.
Administrators claimed Hilco has a broad range of experts backed up by a strong capital base that allows them to buy up debt or stock or invest in extras, such as new IT systems, which can produce the best results.
Last year the firm was brought in to clear stock and close stores at Clinton Cards, JJB Sports and the Allders department store in Croydon.
It also advised on the administration of the fashion chain Peacocks and the closure of Micro Anvika's electronics stores.
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