Icahn, Dish bid for Blockbuster

Joseph O'Halloran | 03-04-2011

Following rumours of a bid from SK Telecom for the bankrupt video rental chain, Blockbuster is the target of concrete offers from billionaire investor Carl Icahn and satellite television provider Dish Network

Blockbuster will be put up for sale on 4 April in a bid to recoup some revenues for the company who is said to owe around $250 million in particular to major Hollywood studios such as 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Walt Disney Co, Universal Home Studios and Lionsgate.

Blockbuster's US operations include nearly three thousand stores, DVD vending kiosks, by-mail and digital businesses. These are considered to be the prime assets for potential purchasers

Icahn and Dish Network are to date the only confirmed bidder s but reports in the US suggest that as many as seven parties would be interested in acquiring Blockbuster. In February 2011 hedge funds led by Monarch Alternative Capital, which is believed to carry more than half of Blockbuster’s major debt, made a stalking horse bid in the region of $290 million. For his part Icahn owns something in the region of a third of Blockbuster’s senior secured debt.

The proposed bid by SK Telecom was regarded with some puzzlement by analysts yet no such ambiguity would surround a bid by Dish in particular who could easily leverage the Blockbuster network and vast content library that it owns to bolster considerably the company’s content proposition.