HMV files for bankruptcy protectionAfter more than nine decades in business, British music and entertainment giant HMV is scrambling to stay afloat amid stiff competition from online retailers and digital downloading services. The company said it was calling in the administrators after a last-ditch attempt to secure funding failed, bringing the curtain down on one of Britain’s best-known high street retail stores.

The accounting firm Deloitte has been named as the administrator and intends to keep the business running while it seeks a potential buyer, HMV said in an official statement.

 The company, which still has 239 stores in the UK and Ireland with around 4,350 staff, has struggled amid declining music, DVD and games markets. HMV U.K.’s 238 stores, some in high-rent city centres, including the flagship one on Oxford St. in London, which played a crucial part in the launch of the Beatles, will remain open for the time being.

Hilco has been named as a potential buyer for the U.K. operations along with private equity firm Endless, and private equity veteran Jon Moulton, according to the Financial Times.

The name HMV, which stands for his master’s voice, comes from the company’s trademark of a dog named Nipper staring intently at the bell of an early gramophone player. Opened on London’s Oxford Street by English composer Edward Elgar in 1921, HMV, grew to become a musical powerhouse, selling records and albums to generations.

Over the years, the industry has changed, but it’s become even more pronounced in recent years. Fans no longer have to buy records or CDs to get music or DVDs for their favourite movies or television programs. Despite steadily losing market share to Internet sellers, HMV still has about 20 per cent of the U.K. music and video market, which includes both downloads and discs.

HMV files for bankruptcy protection