Calgary Herald

Dish wins blockbuste­r in $320m bankruptcy auction

- reuters WILMINGTON, DEL.

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.

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