Sports Direct Founder in Talks to Buy HMV

By Holly Brockwell on at

Eventually, the British High Street will consist entirely of Pret and Sports Direct.

That's the way it's looking with the news that the discount sports chain's founder, Mike Ashley, has placed a bid on floundering music institution HMV.

Ashley has already snapped up House of Fraser and Evans Cycles, as well as having stakes in Debenhams and French Connection.

The big flagship HMV store on Oxford Street coincidentally became a Sports Direct some years ago, much to the consternation of Londoners, despite the original HMV being further up the road.

The company announced it was in trouble in December (our subhead was literally "Paging Mike Ashley"), the second time it's faced administration in the last decade. High street sales are proving difficult for many household-name retail chains, but obviously music faces a particularly tough challenge given the precipitous decline of physical media purchases in favour of streaming.

At the moment, HMV is still trading, but over 2,000 jobs are at risk while it hangs in the balance. The chain apparently sold 31% of all the physical music purchased in the UK last year, but that's a bit like saying you sold almost a third of the floppy disks. Not wildly impressive.

Ashley's bid isn't the only one HMV's administrators have received, so it's not guaranteed yet that we'll be getting HMV mugs the size of your head. Watch this space, we guess, and buy that clichéd Nirvana t-shirt while you still can.