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Dish, Icahn Enter Blockbuster Bids

1 Apr, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Satellite TV operator Dish Network and activist shareholder Carl Icahn have separately joined a growing list of bidders for Blockbuster, which is set for bankruptcy court-approved auction April 4.

Dish and Icahn reportedly entered bids after the March 31 deadline, despite the fact the satellite operator’s name had appeared on a list of potential bidders Blockbuster released in February.

The bidders join a group that includes South Korean telecommunications company SK Telecom and several hedge funds operating as Cobalt Video Holdings, which put up the $290 million so-called stalking horse bid Feb. 21.

While Blockbuster continues to hemorrhage money, as evidenced by a $68.4 million net loss through the first two months of the year, the brand still is considered quite valuable, in addition to synonymous with home entertainment.

Both Dish and SK Telecom eye Blockbuster as brand names for future VOD platforms, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In a note, Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker said Blockbuster could give Dish a so-called “over-the-top” competitor to Netflix that delivers movies and repurposed TV shows via the Internet.

“We had often thought that Charlie Ergen (founder of Dish and EchoStar) is interested in providing an over-the-top product but the one piece we were missing was how to get content — Blockbuster may be the (first) answer,” Ryvicker wrote.


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