After two months of uncertainty over their fate, it will be business as usual for music retailer HMV's two outlets at Marina Square and at 313@somerset. A Hong Kong-based private equity firm has come in to take over the ownership and management of HMV stores in Hong Kong and Singapore.
HMV store at 313@somerset. TNP PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
The group, Aid Partners Capital Limited announced in a joint press release with HMV on Thursday that it has acquired the entire stake of HMV in Hong Kong and Singapore, and the rights to run business using the HMV brand in Mainland China, Macau and Taiwan.
But Aid Partners' founder Kelvin Wu declined to reveal the group's investment into HMV.
The fate of Singapore's two HMV stores hung in the balance after news broke in January in the United Kingdom that the HMV group went into administration, a form of bankruptcy, to prevent collapse.
Although HMV in Asia is a legally separate entity from HMV in the United Kingdom, some music fans here were worried that HMV would close down. Talk of closure gathered momentum particularly becayse the two stores here were offering massive discounts on a number of music and DVD titles,often seen as a sign of impending closure, around the time news of business troubles in the UK came to light.
Observers thought HMV would go the way of American music giant Tower Records and homegrown retail chain Sembawang Music Centre, which folded in 2006 and 2009, respectively, amid declining CD sales.
But Ms Emily Butt, managing director of HMV Hong Kong and Singapore, said: "Basically, Singapore still has a very big CD market. HMV has a 25 per cent share of music market in Singapore, and for DVD and Blu-ray, we have about 10 per cent of the market share, so it's still a viable business."
This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on February 28, 2013. For similar stories, go to sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.