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HMV buys half of music download startup

7Digital for £7.7m

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HMV has bought half the equity in the music download firm 7Digital to boost its attempts to flog entertainment online.

The high street stalwart paid £7.7m to 7Digital's venture capital backers, Balderton Capital and Sutton Place Managers, and to company bosses.

Despite pioneering legal DRM-free digital music and partnership deals with Spotify and Last.fm, 7Digital has struggled for recognition in a download market dominated by Apple and Amazon. It's forecast to lose £1m this year.

It will now however become sole supplier to HMV's digital stores, which have been growing, but lag far behind the leaders. 7Digital's technology will also power HMV-owned bookseller Waterstones' push in e-book sales.

The current 7Digital management team, led by Ben Drury, will remain in place. Existing partnerships and services will also continue. ®

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