Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

This just in: the Russians are going to save your local record shop

It’s just what you need to see in the morning before you butter your toast: a Russian oligarch taking a slice of your business. HMV’s shareholders discovered this week that Alexander Mamut, the 655th richest dude in the world according …

Fri, Nov 12, 2010, 10:02

   

It’s just what you need to see in the morning before you butter your toast: a Russian oligarch taking a slice of your business.

HMV’s shareholders discovered this week that Alexander Mamut, the 655th richest dude in the world according to Forbes, had spent five million pounds taking a three per cent stake in the entertainment retail group.

Once known as “the Yeltsin family banker”, Mamut’s varied business interests include blogging site Livejournal.com, Russia’s Evroset mobile phone retail chain, the country’s Spar franchise, a publishing house, an arthouse cinema, bookshops, silver production, restaurants and assorted media bits and pieces.

A keen football fan, he was said to be interested in buying Blackburn Rovers a few years ago but, unluckily for Big Sam Allardyce, didn’t follow his close mucker Roman Abramovich down that road in the end.

While Mamut’s move into HMV stock is said to have caught the company on the hop, it does highlight that the entrepreneur sees untapped value in the company. He’s certainly not buying those shares because he fancies getting a discount on box-sets for the Christmas.

In recent times, as revenue from what was once its core business of selling recorded music has fallen, HMV has diversified by moving into live music through its takeover of the MAMA group of venues.

However, given that Mamut has experience in the retail and technology sectors, analysts believe it more likely that his focus will be on these areas.

It also goes to show that a record shop’s best friends may not, after all, be a bunch of fortysomething male record-buyers looking for rare vinyl releases, but rather a rich Russian with five million quid to spare.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 10 days from the date of publication.