Private equity firm buys HMV in HK and Singapore

A Hong Kong-based private equity firm on Thursday agreed to buy music retail chain HMV's Hong Kong and Singapore businesses, hoping to revive the brand as the industry shifts towards digital downloads.

AID Partners, which focuses on media and consumer-related investments in China, would also acquire HMV's licences for the mainland, Macau and Taiwan, it said in a statement.

HMV Group PLC entered administration last month but its businesses in Asia, which are a separate legal entity, have fared better.

"The brand is one of the key reasons we wanted to do this deal. We want to revitalise it," said Kelvin Wu, principal partner of AID Partners, without disclosing the value of the buy-out.

HMV runs six stores in Hong Kong and two in Singapore with an annual turnover of HK$300 million (US$38.7 million). It also operates an e-commerce site in Hong Kong.

Emily Butt, managing director of HMV Hong Kong and Singapore, said that while CD sales have not fallen as fast in Asia as they have in the US, the stores have adapted to changing conditions by focusing more on equipment.

The biggest challenge facing the retailer in Hong Kong is rent, she added.

Earlier this month HMV PLC's administrator Deloitte said it would close more than 100 stores in Britain.

--- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this report ---