Dish Network Corp. emerged as the new owner of Blockbuster, fundamentally paying $320 million at a bankruptcy auction for a very useful package of digital rights, lists of interested customers, and a brand name associated with movie rentals.
The deal means that Dish, the second-largest U.S. satellite TV company after DirecTV, now owns everything about the Blockbuster Total Access service, which includes the online and streaming rights to a catalog of console games and many new feature film releases 28 days before Netflix. It also gets the approximately 1,700 Blockbuster stores that are still in operation.
Blockbuster issued a statement that the deal would keep more than 15,000 store personnel employed. “We’re pleased that we will continue to operate more than 90 percent of the stores that were offered at auction in April,” said Michael Kelly, president of Blockbuster.
The money will go toward paying off the company’s creditors, which include financier Carl Icahn, several movie studios and others. Icahn resigned from the Blockbuster board in 2010.