Picture House sale saves venue from HMV demise

Dougi Stewart with the HMV gift voucher he was sold hours before the chain's collapse
Dougi Stewart with the HMV gift voucher he was sold hours before the chain's collapse
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THE HMV Picture House is set to survive the collapse of the entertainment retail chain after being sold as part of a £7.3 million deal to a banking giant.

HMV’s live music subsidiary, Mama Group, which owns the Lothian Road landmark, was sold to Lloyds Development Capital (LDC) last month as the music and DVD giant sought to cut its crippling debts.

The venue is now to be renamed and could have Lloyds incorporated into its title, it was revealed last night.

The sale appears to have done nothing to prevent the receivers being called in, but has protected the immediate future of the 1500-capacity venue.

Management at the Picture House, which opened for live music in September 2008, said HMV would be removed from the venue’s name as it moved to reassure concerned patrons following the collapse of the high street giant.

A spokesman said: “We would like to reassure all of our customers that this venue is no longer a part of the HMV Group. We are in the process of removing the HMV name from the venue and from all of our marketing materials.”

He added: “Please be assured that the recent announcements in relation to HMV do not affect this venue or any events taking place here.”

Purchaser LDC is an arm of Lloyds Banking Group, raising speculation the name of the financial institution could be incorporated into the Picture House’s new title.

The B-listed building has hosted Scottish music acts such as Travis and Paolo Nutini while running live concerts under HMV’s live entertainment offshoot.

Lloyds also acquired a 50 per cent stake in the Mean Fiddler Group in last month’s deal. The group operates a number of live venues in London.

The future of Rose Street outlet Fopp remains far less certain. It was bought out by HMV after it went into administration in 2007.

Fopp and HMV will remain open while administrator Deloitte seeks potential buyers for the chain.

Edinburgh radio DJ Grant Stott, who labelled the chain’s demise as “sad news”, predicted a buyer would come to the rescue.

Retail restructuring group Hilco and Endless, a private equity group that targets distressed companies, was yesterday among businesses that expressed an interest in purchasing the overall HMV Group.

Trevor Moore, chief executive of HMV, insisted the chain still deserved a place on Britain’s high streets.

He said: “HMV was recently voted one of the top ten names people most wanted on their high street. A high street without HMV is not as attractive as it is with one. We know our customers feel the same way.”

Shock as vouchers become void

CUSTOMERS have told of their shock after being left unable to cash in gift vouchers at the

under-threat chain.

Bonnyrigg landscaper Dougi Stewart, 54, was sold a £40 HMV gift voucher just hours before it was announced the chain was going into administration.

He made the purchase from HMV’s Fort Kinnaird store about 4.30pm on Monday as a present for his son’s 20th birthday.

He jokingly asked the store clerk at the time whether the retailer was going into administration “like Jessops”, and claims he was told “no”.

Alastair MacIntyre, 33, similarly tried to use a £20 voucher at the HMV branch in the St James Centre yesterday on two CDs.

‘I skived school to see Adam Rickitt’

Following the shock announcement HMV had collapsed, music lovers took to Twitter to reminisce about the Edinburgh stores.

Lyndsey Fraser, @FraserLyndsey: “I went to see Glasvegas playing an exclusive midnight gig in HMV around the time when their first album was released.”

Cheryl McKenzie, @CherylMckenzie1: “Skiving high school in 1999 to queue at #HMV Princes Street Edinburgh to meet Adam Rickitt.”

Liz Blair, @lizziieblair: “I bought the Take That album in 1993 when I was 13 and recently the One Direction album for my daughter who is now 13!!”

Andrew Baker, @AndrewBaker72: “Surfer Rosa by the Pixies . . . 1988, probably on cassette for my Walkman . . . Oh how life has changed.”

Su Leen, @HibsSue: “Bought my first ever single, Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles, from HMV in St James Centre. It was my fav. branch.”

Graeme Sutherland, @grummy_grummy: “HMV memory - walking in to find them charging £14.99 for new films or albums, about turning straight back out the door.”