Dish Wins Court Approval for $320 Million Blockbuster Deal


NEW YORK - Satellite TV provider Dish Network's $320 million acquisition of video rental firm Blockbuster won approval from a judge in bankruptcy court here on Thursday.

Judge Burton Lifland gave the deal a green light, according to a Blockbuster spokesman.

The deal approval comes as Wall Street continued to discuss the risks and benefits of owning Blockbuster, whose customer base and financials have been in decline amid the rise of Netflix and other alternatives.

One analyst early on Thursday downgraded Dish shares to a "sell" partly due to the Blockbuster deal.

Analysts have said Dish could cross-promote and -sell services with Blockbuster and use its access to content to launch a Netflix rival.

In an auction for the video rental firm that started Tuesday and ran into early Wednesday, Dish outbid activist investor Carl Icahn and a group of financial firms, as well as two bidders that had dropped out of the process early.

Blockbuster later on Thursday detailed that the exact price tag, which Dish had previously said was about $320 million, was $320.6 million to be precise. The transaction is expected to close on April 25.

Blockbuster chairman and CEO Jim Keyes, who some observers have said is likely to leave the company after a sale, said: “We are pleased to have reached this important milestone in the ongoing transformation of Blockbuster. The combination of Dish Network with Blockbuster’s multi-channel offering will ultimately provide our combined subscribers and customers the most convenient access to an outstanding entertainment experience.”

Dish shares closed at $23.95, down 1.5%.

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