The UK’s home entertainment sector took a big blow in January when retail giants HMV and Blockbuster filed for bankrupty protection within days of one another. Private equity firm Gordon Brothers Europe rode to the rescue of Blockbuster last month, and today, restructuring firm Hilco says it’s completed an acquisition of HMV’s business and certain assets. Those include 141 stores – 25 of which had been slated for closure – and about 2,500 employees. Hilco CEO Paul McGowan said, “We have spent a number of weeks negotiating revised terms with landlords and the key suppliers to the business, all of whom have been supportive of our plans to maintain an entertainment retailer on the High Street.” Hilco is seeking to re-establish HMV in Ireland after receivers there shuttered the business. The company also owns HMV Canada and hopes to replicate some of the success it’s had in that market. Exec Ian Topping said the Hilco team would “use some of the developments already progressed in Canada to restore HMV to health. We intend to reverse the earlier decisions to sell tablets and other devices in the stores and to reclaim the space for an enhanced music and visual range.” In the UK, HMV and Blockbuster have faced stiff competition from online streaming services such as Lovefilm and Netflix while supermarket retailers have also increasingly entered the space. The collapse of the two companies in January was also a burden on local film distributors in a market where DVD margins have already been on the decline.
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