Dish wins blockbuster in $320m bankruptcy auction
Dish Network Corp. has won Blockbuster Inc. in a bankruptcy auction for $320 million US, further broadening its business beyond satellite TV and setting up a possible showdown with Netflix.
Dish, the second-largest U.S. satellite TV company after DirecTV, trumped at least three other bidders, including activist investor Carl Icahn, for the one-time leader in video rentals.
Dish said the deal, which includes more than 1,700 Blockbuster stores, gives it new ways to market its services.
The deal covers “substantially all” of the rental chain’s business, and likely gives Dish the rights Blockbuster had to stream movies over the In- ternet, the Blockbuster brand name and customer lists.
Dish declined to comment beyond its news release.
“This is very clever,” said Todd Mitchell, an analyst with Kaufman Brothers.
“Dish can t ransition Blockbuster from a retail to a streaming model so you have basically a Netflix-like offering.”
The deal follows two others led by Dish chairman Charlie Ergen this year that could transform Dish into a major provider of on-demand video through its satellite system and eventually over a wireless network for hand-held devices, according to analysts.
Last month, Dish bought satellite and land-based communications company DBSD North America for about $1.4 billion, which expanded the amount of broadband spectrum the company has.