updated 06:30 pm EDT, Thu April 7, 2011
Judge approves Dish buyout of Blockbuster
A bankruptcy court judge on Thursday gave approval to Dish's buyout of Blockbuster. The clearance for the $320 million deal was needed before the two could complete the deal, which has now been narrowed down from spring to April 25. Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes said he was happy with the deal, in part since Dish would keep business mostly intact and take over many leases and the on-the-spot DVD rental kiosks.
The ruling didn't go uncontested. Over 100 companies and individuals objected in the court, but many of these were property owners worried Dish might back out of paying money still owed on leases. Blockbuster successfully persuaded the court that it should deal with the objections later, although temporary loans during the bankruptcy were going to be paid off as part of the deal.
Dish hasn't given full details of what it will do with the takeover other than to use Blockbuster as a way of selling Dish satellite TV bundles in more places. The move will, however, let it get access to Blockbuster's online video service. It may also use Blockbuster as a bargaining chip by demanding that Dish's TV service get rights if a movie studio wants to see a rental in Blockbuster.
The bankruptcy from this fall was triggered after Blockbuster hadn't done enough to counter the success of Netflix and other services that made obsolete the need to go to a physical store to rent a movie. Its kiosks and Internet streaming have had only limited impact versus equivalents like Redbox and iTunes.