HMV Live receives ?65 million bid from O2 Arena owner AEG

HMV has reportedly received a £65 million bid for its live music arm, HMV Live, from the owner of the O2 Arena, AEG.

HMV Live operates 13 venues across the UK, including the Hammersmith Apollo and Jazz Café in London. It also runs five festivals such as London’s Lovebox and the Global gathering held near Stratford-upon-Avon.

HMV originally paid £60 million for HMV Live but has been forced to consider its sale after disappointing sales which has left the company racking up over £160 million in debt.

HMV suggested that it was potentially looking to sell its profitable live music arm back in December 2011.

By early 2012 a number of suitors had lined up to show their interest. These included Sony, Warner Music, Live Nation, Oakley Capital (who own Time Out magazine) as well as AEG.

HMV’s Chief Executive, Simon Fox, was optimistic that they would be able to attract bids higher than the original sum it had spent on it. The current reported AEG bid of £65 million does meet this hope but is far from what some commentators considered the HMV Live arm could attract (£70 to £100 million).

AEG—a sporting and music business—is owned by Philip Anschutz who is one of America’s richest men. AEG has owned the O2 Arena since 2005 (when it was still referred to as the Millennium Dome).

The £65 million bid by AEG is believed to be one of several bids offered by a number of companies for HMV Live in the first round of bidding which ended on March 2nd.

It is still uncertain whether other companies previously interested in buying the lucrative business are still vying for it and have moved through to the second round of bidding.

The second round of bidding is expected to take place in April 2012.