Virgin Megastores sold off in MBO

Zavvi Entertainment Group, headed up by existing Virgin Megastores MD Simon Douglas and finance director Steve Peckham, will operate all of the existing 125 UK and Irish stores and its online operation. Zavvi will continue to be supplied by EUK, the company’s primary supplier.

All UK stores will be re-branded Zavvi by November 2007 with the website and Irish stores following in January 2008.

For over 30 years Virgin Megastores has benefited from being part of the Virgin Group and from the unstinting support of Sir Richard Branson,” said Simon Douglas, managing director of the new company. We are delighted to be given the opportunity to build on that legacy. This deal secures an exciting future for Zavvi and for all our staff, with a real belief that despite escalating competition there is still very much a place on an increasingly homogenised high street for an independent entertainment specialist that puts customers, product, service and personality at the top of the agenda."

Virgin Group’s founder and chairman Richard Branson added: In the last six years we have been withdrawing from entertainment retailing which is no longer viewed as core to the Group’s future."

"We now choose to franchise our global entertainment retail operations, rather than own them, and this was the last significant Virgin wholly-owned retail business in the world. With that in mind we have agreed to a management buyout with the excellent management team led by Simon Douglas and Steve Peckham. The Virgin brand will continue to be represented in-store through the Virgin Mobile and Virgin Media in-store concessions.”

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