Findel buys ChoicesUK direct and wholesale businesses


The market trends that led music and DVD merchants Fopps, Music
Zone and Tower Records into administration have preyed on another
victim. On 22nd August, ChoicesUK announced that it had appointed
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as administrators to help the
company find a buyer. On 5th September Findel announced that it
would purchase the wholesale distribution and direct divisions of
the company. Findel is buying the divisions on behalf of its
associate company Webb Group Ltd, in which it holds a 30 percent
stake. The transaction, for an undisclosed sum, is said to secure
some 300 jobs. Bernard Kumeta, managing director of the Webb
Group, said, “The acquisition of these businesses is
directly in line with our strategy of further leveraging our core
skills in brand management, product sourcing and fulfilment
through targeted acquisitions”. Webb Group’s other recently
acquired brands include Razamataz, which sells classic
entertainment on DVD and video via catalogue; BuyItHere, an
online seller of home entertainment products; and gifts marketer
Initial Ideas.

On 14th September, it was confirmed that Blockbuster would
acquire a “significant number” of Choices stores and rebrand them
under the Blockbuster name. The sale secures 450 jobs in 59
stores across the UK.

ChoicesUK had warned in April that despite cutting more than 250
jobs and closing stores it was suffering greater-than-expected
losses. Prior to appointing PwC it had failed to secure a
refinancing agreement that its banker, Lloyds TSB, found
suitable. The popularity of digital downloads and the growing
availability of music and movies at low-price supermarket chains
are blamed for the demise of speciality music and DVD retailers.

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