HMV sells G-A-Y stake back to founder

G-A-Y ManchesterOwnership of Heaven nightclub and G-A-Y bars has been bought back from music retailer HMV by the G-A-Y brand’s founder, Jeremy Joseph.

Administrators from Deloitte have sold HMV’s majority stake in the late-night venues to Joseph who had remained part owner in the business after founding it 20 years ago.

Joseph launched G-A-Y at the London Astoria, relocating it to London’s Heaven nightclub, acquired by G-A-Y in 2008, when the Astoria was earmarked for demolition in 2009 to make way for Crossrail. The business also comprises G-A-Y Bar and G-A-Y Late in Soho, London, and G-A-Y bar in Manchester’s Canal Street (pictured).

Joseph said: “HMV made a strategic decision to sell certain businesses which included the sale of their shares in G-A-Y almost a year ago. I am delighted to have acquired 100 per cent ownership of the business that I founded 20 years ago and to have secured the future of my 200 employees.”

In a Facebook update, he added that he had “signed his life away” by taking out a multimillion-pound loan from Metro Bank to fund the purchase.

“Going at it alone and borrowing in the current climate left me few options, and the opportunity to buy a good profit-making company was going to be let go under because banks are putting such restraints on loans that it’s near impossible for businesses to expand.

“However, as luck would have it, a friend suggested a new bank and after looking at G-A-Y accounts, they gave a ‘yes’ to lending me personally millions, and I do mean millions. So thanks to Metro Bank, I was given the chance to take the biggest risk of my life and give G-A-Y a new future.”

Joint administrator Rob Harding from Deloitte said: “We are pleased to have completed the sale of HMV’s shareholding in G-A-Y to the natural purchaser of this stake so shortly after our appointment.

“This will benefit the creditors of HMV and we wish Mr Joseph the best in the beginning of a new era for G-A-Y.”

HMV, which went into administration last month, sold the rest of its live venue operations including Mama Group and its 50 per cent ownership of Mean Fiddler Group during 2012. It acquired its majority stake in the G-A-Y business in 2009 as part of the £46million purchase of Mama Group which operated 11 concert venues including the Hammersmith Apollo.

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