HMV group has bought a 50 per cent equity stake in digital music sellers 7Digital for a cash fee of £7.7 million.

7Digital will now provide HMV's digital sales, as well as continue with its own burgeoning operation.

Not content with offering HMV customers with a catalogue of six million tracks from four major record labels, 7Digital will also power an 'enhanced' e-book store for another part of the group – book giant Waterstones.

Compelling download offering

Ben Drury, CEO of 7digital, comments "HMV is the largest entertainment retailer in the UK and Canada, and combining our digital expertise with the respected brand will create a compelling download offering for the consumer.

"The widespread adoption of the MP3 format has raised the profile of legal downloading amongst consumers and the market is continuing to grow.

"We already provide a number of high profile clients with successful download services and are confident we will see similar success with this venture."

Exciting step

Simon Fox, Chief Executive of HMV Group, comments "This is an exciting new step for HMV which transforms our position in the fast-growing digital market.

"We believe 7digital is the best partner to help us accelerate our growth in digital entertainment and to become a major player in the market for legally downloaded entertainment.

"Along with other recent initiatives, it demonstrates the Group's continuing focus on transformation in structurally changing markets."