Billionaire Mike Ashley Bids for Music Retailer HMV

(Bloomberg) -- Mike Ashley, the billionaire owner of Sports Direct International Plc and Newcastle United soccer club, has made a bid for embattled music retailer HMV Group Plc, according to a person familiar with the situation.

HMV began insolvency procedures last month for the second time in six years as physical records have become outmoded in favor of online music streaming. If Ashley’s bid is accepted, he will be expanding his grip on U.K. shopping even more, after rescuing department-store chain House of Fraser last year. He also owns significant stakes in Debenhams Plc, Game Digital Plc and French Connection Group Plc.

The bid is one of a number of offers for the music and entertainment chain, which has 125 shops in the U.K., employing 2,025 people. They’re set to stay open while bids are examined, according to administrator KPMG.

HMV is owned by investment firm Hilco Capital, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Sports Direct could not immediately be reached.

Ashley is examining offers for a number of troubled retailers, but is “serious” about buying HMV, according to Sky News, which reported the news over the weekend.

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