Wattles Reportedly Seeking Blockbuster Buy17 May, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Mark Wattles, founder and former CEO of Hollywood Entertainment Corp., has apparently not left the video store.
The current CEO and chairman of Denver-based game retailer Ultimate Electronics told Bloomberg.com he is in “active discussions with potential buyers” to help acquire his former perennial rival Blockbuster Inc.
Wattles' interest, however sincere, could help bolster newly elected Blockbuster board member Carl Icahn's edict to substantially cut selling, general and administrative (SG&E) costs, issue a $330 million dividend to shareholders or sell the $6 billion company.
Blockbuster last week announced plans to issue a 2-cents-per share, or $3.8 million, dividend in June.
Wattles, who owns 1 million shares of Blockbuster common stock, offered to buy back half of his former company's retail stores earlier this year in a late attempt to salvage Big Blue's failed acquisition of Hollywood Video.
Blockbuster, citing federal regulatory concerns, withdrew its bid for Hollywood, which was then acquired by Movie Gallery.
Wattles still owns about 20 Hollywood retail locations.
A Blockbuster spokesperson said the company doesn't comment on "rumors."