French music label boss mulls Virgin France offer - paper

PARIS Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:40am GMT

A logo is seen next to the entrance of the Virgin Megastore at the Champs Elysees in Paris, January 4, 2013. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

A logo is seen next to the entrance of the Virgin Megastore at the Champs Elysees in Paris, January 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

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PARIS (Reuters) - Patrick Zelnik, the owner of French music label Naive Records, is considering an offer to buy retailer Virgin Megastore France, which is undergoing a court-ordered restructuring, according to newspaper Les Echos on Monday.

The news comes as British media report that restructuring specialist Hilco is the frontrunner in the battle to save music retailer HMV from administration, with music labels and film studios also preparing a rescue package.

Zelnik, who co-founded the first books-to-music Virgin Megastore in France on the Champs-Elysees in Paris in 1988 with British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group VA.UL, told Les Echos he would submit an offer "within two to three weeks".

Zelnik hopes to get backing for his offer from the French authorities, including the sovereign wealth fund FSI.

Virgin Megastore France filed for bankruptcy on January 9.

A court on January 14 ordered the firm, which operates 26 Virgin-branded stores in France, to be restructured.

Butler Capital Partners bought a majority stake in Virgin Megastore France in 2007 from media-to-aerospace group Lagardere (LAGA.PA), which itself bought the chain from Branson in 2001.

Zelnik could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Greg Mahlich and Mark Potter)

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