Apax-backed retailer calls in administrator

UK DVD retailer Silverscreen, which has received £23.5m in funding from Apax Partners, has called in administrator Kroll.

Silverscreen, a UK DVD retailer and portfolio company of global private equity firm Apax Partners, has gone into administration.
 
Apax provided seed financing of around £3.5 million (€5 million; $6 million) in Silverscreen in 2003 before ploughing another £20 million into the business in a second-round financing in February 2004 to support the rollout of a national chain of 180 stores over a four-year period.
 
Silverscreen appointed Kroll as administrator earlier this week. According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Kroll’s Andrew Pepper said discussions were underway with potential buyers and that there are currently no plans for redundancies. Calls to Kroll were not returned.
 
Apax is understood to have approached UK music and books retailer Virgin Megastores regarding a purchase of Silverscreen, but negotiations failed to result in a deal.
 
Founded in May 2003 by Gavin Aldred, former co-CEO of fashion retailer New Look, and former EMI Group strategy director Ernesto Schmitt, Silverscreen was launched to take advantage of the boom in DVD retail sales.
 
Silverscreen’s problems follow the collapse of another UK DVD retailer, MVC, last December. MVC, whose £5.5 million management buyout from high street retailer Woolworths last July was backed by private equity firm Argyll Partners, ceased trading at the beginning of 2006. Several of its stores were acquired by rival chain Music Zone.