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HMV Gains as Hammersmith Apollo Sold to O2 Owner: London Mover

HMV Group Plc, the U.K.’s biggest retailer of CDs and DVDs, gained the most in more than two months after agreeing to sell the Hammersmith Apollo concert venue in a deal that helps bolster the company’s finances.

The shares rose 17 percent, the biggest advance since March 14, to 3.99 pence after gaining as much as 25 percent earlier in the day. HMV’s stock is still more than 90 percent lower than at the start of the decade as consumers switched to online purchasing and downloading, and using handheld technology for games.

The sale of the 70-year-old West London venue, which has hosted performances by The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bob Marley, will bring in 32 million pounds ($49 million) cash, HMV said yesterday after markets closed. The buyer is Stage C, a company controlled jointly by the owner of London’s O2 Arena.

HMV, which acquired the Hammersmith Apollo in 2010, is reshaping its business as more consumers download music and movies rather than purchase CDs and DVDs. The faltering economy and competition from online retailers and supermarkets may cast “significant doubt” on the company’s ability to survive, Maidenhead, England-based HMV said in January.

HMV said yesterday that a 220 million-pound bank facility will be extended to September 2014, subject to completion of the sale, which it expects to take place by the end of August.

A review of HMV’s remaining live-music business is continuing, the company said. The 12 venues include the Manchester Ritz and Edinburgh Picture House.

Stage C is owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group’s Ansco Music Club Ltd., whose venues include the O2, and Getgo Consulting GmbH, which is part of CTS Eventim AG.

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