Uni Music U.K. Sues Retail Chain's Administrators

Universal Music U.K. is suing the administrators of Our Price Entertainment in a row over goods supplied to the stores. The claim is made against administrators Simon Michaels and Shay Bannon, of busi

Universal Music U.K. is suing the administrators of Our Price Entertainment in a row over goods supplied to the stores. The claim is made against administrators Simon Michaels and Shay Bannon, of business advisory firm BDO Stoy Hayward.

In late 2001, Richard Branson's Virgin Entertainment Group sold 77 stores in its underperforming U.K. Our Price chain to Australian retailer Sanity. Sanity subsequently acquired a further 41 outlets. The deal signaled the demise of the U.K. retail brand which had been in use for almost 30 years. At its peak, the chain had more than 300 stores.

Sanity Entertainment withdrew from the U.K. music market after only 18 months, claiming it simply wasn't profitable enough. The chain was sold in September 2003 to investment firm Primemist for an estimated $12 million ($16.67 million). Within two months, Primemist's owner Lee Skinner sold back his interest to his backers, who then placed the chain into administration.

According to a High Court writ, Our Price's administrators allowed the retailer to sell items to customers without the consent of Universal Music, although the goods still belonged to the record company at the time of sale.

Universal is claiming unspecified damages of more than £150,000 ($265,000), in a writ issued at London's High Court and just made publicly available. The record company ordered that if the administrators allow the company to sell its items, they must immediately pay the price for which Universal has invoiced Our Price for the goods.

Universal Music U.K. declined to comment.
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