Following the shock news that Australia’s largest chain of music retailers, Allans Billy Hyde, was going into receivership, causing a collapse which saw hundreds losing their jobs amidst debts of nearly $40 million, the former retailing powerhouse has been saved at the eleventh hour by a former rival.
Con Gallin, the Managing Director of Australian Musical Imports (AMI) and Gallin’s Musician’s Pro Shop retail stores, announced this afternoon the successful purchase of the Allans Music and Billy Hyde effective immediately.
In the face of their impending doom, the receivers called in to manage the Allans Billy Hyde collapse originally sought new owners to purchase the business instead of winding it up, including Bain Capital; the private equity firm founded by former US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who were reportedly circling the buy-out.
Mr Gallin had originally tried to purchase the company at the beginning of the liquidation, but his offer was initially rejected outright. Gallin was openly critical of the chain’s owners and management, saying just after the collapse was announced that they “lacked music retail expertise and as a result lost large amounts of money.”
“They couldn’t adjust the company expenses to meet reality and they are not inspiring entrepreneurs. This is the game of Monopoly out of control and the economy is not to blame.”
Mr. Gallin has now renegotiated with the receivers, Ferrier Hodgson, for the purchase of the bulk of the Allans Music and Billy Hyde assets including the trading names Allans Music and Billy Hyde, Allans Billy Hyde, Australian Music Group, Musiclink and Intermusic together with their associated domain names and websites.
[do action=”pullquote”]”From a Gibson Guitar perspective this is fantastic news and a real win for Australian artists”[/do]
Mr. Gallin also confirmed that the flagship stores at Southport (Qld), Sydney, Alexandria, Parramatta (all NSW), Adelaide (SA) and Blackburn and Bourke Street, Melbourne (Vic) will continue to trade. Mr. Gallin also confirmed today that the majority of the staff currently working in these stores will remain.
The news comes off the back of Clementine Music, which is owned by Madjo Enterprises and controlled by Soundwave boss AJ Maddah, quietly purchasing backline hiring company Allans Billy Hyde Stage Systems just weeks after the collapse of parent company Allans Billy Hyde.
National Australia Bank was set to take a $48 million hit from the collapse of the instrument retailer and its liquidation of assets, following debts that reached nearly $56 million at its highest point in March. Additionally, it was estimated that secured creditors are owed around $13.5 million, while employee entitlements are estimated at $3 million.
It remains unclear if the purchase by Gallin’s Music will affect the outstanding debts or employee entitlements.
In the meantime the purchase of these stores has been warmly welcomed by the musical instrument industry as well as musicians and consumers who were left stunned when it was announced that Allans Music & Billy Hyde would be closing its doors.
“From a Gibson Guitar perspective this is fantastic news and a real win for Australian artists,” Clayton Doughty, Artist Relations Manager at Gibson Australia said.
“Australia has such a proud musical history, especially when it comes to great guitarists like Angus Young, Ian Moss, Diesel, Billy Thorpe, John Brewster, Brad Shepherd, Ian Haug and Dan Sultan to name a few. I expect that this announcement to allow the next generation of artists to continue to develop their passion for playing.”
Brendan Callinan, GM of Roland Corporation Australia added “The Allans Music and Billy Hyde Music businesses have a long history of catering to the needs of musicians. Their downtown locations and brand profile have provided exposure for music making that has benefitted the wider music community, so the loss of these stores would be to the detriment of suppliers, retailers and the music making public.”
[do action=”pullquote-2″]“We couldn’t sit back and let Allans’ 160 year history and Billy Hyde’s 50 year history of supplying instruments to musicians disappear forever.”[/do]
“By resurrecting several of the key Allans Billy Hyde locations in the capital cities, AMI are bringing a fresh approach which I believe can correct the mistakes of the previous owners and provide musicians with landmark locations to purchase the instruments that can drive their musical endeavours.”
AMI/Gallin’s Musician’s Pro Shop opened their first store in Chapel Street, Prahran in 1989, and in the ensuing 23 years have successfully opened stores in Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast. The addition of the Allans Billy Hyde stores brings the total music stores operated by Mr. Gallin to thirteen.
“My first job part time while at school was at Allans Music in Collins Street, Melbourne, and now I bought the company,” Mr. Gallin said today. “It wasn’t an easy decision as it’s going to take a lot of hard work and commitment to rejuvenate these stores.”
“We couldn’t sit back and let Allans’ 160 year history and Billy Hyde’s 50 year history of supplying instruments to musicians disappear forever. Mozart bought his first keyboard somewhere 250 years ago and The Beatles bought guitars and drums 50 years ago – the world will always need music and music stores offer everyone an opportunity to create it!”
“Our passion is to be the best musical industry business in Australia for the benefit of our customers, both beginners and professional. Music and musicians is what it’s all about and the only reason we exist.”
The current liquidation sale taking place in the Allans Billy Hyde stores will continue with AMI/Gallin’s adding additional stock from their warehouse and suppliers to give consumers additional discounted items right in time for Christmas.