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Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
HMV set for stock market debut
Robbie Williams in concert
EMI has reportedly offered Robbie 40m for a new record deal
Music retailer HMV is to float on the London Stock Exchange by June, parent company EMI has confirmed.

Speculation on the future of HMV has been rife for months, since EMI launched a radical reorganisation in the face of sagging results.

HMV current stores
135 - UK
34 - Japan
98 - Canada
The flotation will leave EMI as a "major" but minority shareholder in HMV Media, which also owns the leading bookshop chain Waterstones in addition to its international network of 515 record stores.

Projected number of HMV stores by 2007
200 - UK
100 - Japan
140 - Canada
The share sale will be the first significant flotation of a British consumer business since the stock market debut of mobile phone giant Orange last year.

HMV's chief executive Alan Giles is aiming for an aggressive expansion of outlets in both the UK and Japan.

Fading fortunes

The sale should help boost finances at EMI, which last month axed 1,800 jobs as part of a plan to cut annual costs by close to 100m.

EMI Group share price
EMI, hit by a decline in music sales during the global economic slowdown last year, made a 2m loss for the March to September period last year, down from a 59m profit 12 months earlier.

The sales downturn came amid mounting investor concern over the company's ability to service its debts.

Last year, EMI tried to merge first with Warner Music and then with German media giant Bertelsmann, but both proposed tie-ups fell through.

Employee opportunities

Mr Giles, said the flotation was "an important milestone" and said it would reward employees by by giving them an oppotunity to buy shares.

Shares will be sold to institutional investors in the UK and internationally, as well as private UK investors and company staff.

Analysts expect the flotation to raise up to 600m, and praised the timing.

"The IPO market is starting to recover, and consumer spending hasn't slowed down yet," explained one fund manager.

Most of the money raised will be used to reduce debt, with the remainder used to grow the chain and revamp the Waterstones outlets.

See also:

20 Mar 02 | Music
EMI cuts: What next?
20 Mar 02 | Business
EMI announces 1,800 job cuts
15 Feb 02 | Business
EMI 'considering sale' of HMV stores
05 Feb 02 | Business
EMI shake-up amid falling sales
23 Jan 02 | Music
EMI drops Mariah Carey
19 Nov 01 | Business
EMI profits wiped out
15 Oct 01 | Business
EMI signs new music chief
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