HMV may have to sell Waterstone's
Published 22/01/2011 | 05:00
HMV, the UK's biggest music and DVD retailer, may need to sell its Waterstone's bookstore chain, suspend its dividend or offer shares as time runs short to develop a business model for the digital age.
The retailer probably needs five years to shift its business away from CDs and DVDs and become a web and mobile phone-based destination, said Mark Mulligan, an analyst at Forrester Research. With a banking covenant test due in April and suppliers having credit insurance reduced, it may need to buy time to implement such a strategy, analysts say.
Selling the 311-store Waterstone's chain might fetch as much as £75m (€88m), according to Nick Bubb at Arden Partners. Eliminating the dividend would save about £31m for the Maidenhead, England-based retailer, which is diversifying into live music venues to boost sales as competition increases from supermarkets and online retailers.
Above, Diddy launching his new album 'Last Train To Paris' and his diddybeat headphones at HMV in London yesterday. Ian West/PA Wire