HMV Reports Further Losses, May Sell Live Division to Boost Finances
HMV Reports Further Losses, May Sell Live Division to Boost Finances

Troubled U.K. entertainment retailer HMV has teamed with the British arm of Ticketmaster as it looks to expand its ticketing operations.

Announced today (May 15), the strategic partnership comes into effect over the next six to eight weeks and will see HMV's existing ticketing service migrate to a new platform operated by Ticketmaster. The service will remain HMV branded.

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By partnering with the Live Nation Entertainment-owned Ticketmaster, HMV says that it will be able to "substantially broaden the inventory of events" on offer to its customers. The new Ticketmaster-powered service will operate both online via hmvtickets.com and as a bricks and mortar offer, with an initial run of twenty as-yet-undisclosed HMV stores to be fitted out with hmvticket box office kiosks in the next two months.

Despite partnering with Ticketmaster, HMV will retain its own HMV tickets team, which the company says will work directly with its existing client base and provide a dedicated service to promoters, event organizers, venues and festivals, as well as artist management and record labels.

As a result of the arrangement, Ticketmaster will, meanwhile, be able to sell tickets to its range of events via HMV in-store box offices, while also utilizing HMV's retail distribution services to provide customers with non-ticket related purchases such as CDs, DVDs and technology products.

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"We remain committed to offering our customers a premium-quality ticketing service," said HMV CEO Simon Fox in a statement. "By partnering with the world's number one ticket agent we're now in a position to significantly expand the range and depth of events that we can make available to them, not just loads more gigs and festivals, but also across comedy, sport, theatre and many other attractions besides."

Commenting on the deal, Chris Edmonds, Ticketmaster U.K. managing director, said in a statement: "This partnership is bringing together two leaders in their field in the form of HMV as the leading entertainment retailer and Ticketmaster, the world's leading ticket provider."

Edmonds continued: "Enabling our customers to buy tickets from HMV's network of stores is another great addition to our service we can now offer. We are excited about the opportunity of using our combined experience to deliver ticket and music bundles."

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The news of HMV's strategic alliance with Ticketmaster arrives at a time when the ongoing sale of HMV Live is believed to have entered an advanced stage. Sony Music, AEG and private-equity firm Oakley Capital are among the companies reportedly interested in buying HMV's profitable live division. According to U.K. newspaper The Independent, HMV Live's management started making presentations to potential buyers at the start of April. As previously reported, HMV is looking to sell HMV Live, which comprises of 13 U.K. venues and has stakes in several British festivals including Global Gathering and London's Love Box, to service its current £168 million ($269.1 million) net debt. The sale of HMV Live is expected to net the embattled retailer between £60 million ($96.1 million) and £70 million ($112.1 million).