UK

Blockbuster Is Bought, Saving Jobs And Stores

23/03/2013 15:55 GMT | Updated 23/03/2013 19:11 GMT

Troubled DVD and games rental chain Blockbuster has been bought, saving 2,000 jobs and 264 UK stores.

Administrators from Deloitte, the accountancy firm, announced the restructuring specialists Gordon Brothers Europe had purchased the company for an undisclosed sum.

Blockbuster collapsed in January amid competition from internet firms and the digital streaming of movies and games.

Joint Administrator Lee Manning, said: "Having identified a profitable core portfolio of stores we are pleased to have achieved this sale for creditors.

"Together with the previously announced store sales more than half of the original estate has been secured for ongoing use.

"This transaction provides Blockbuster a future in the UK and we owe a special vote of thanks to all the Company's employees, suppliers and customers for helping us rescue the business."

The Blockbuster brand will be licensed from US based Blockbuster LLC.

Lee Manning, Matthew David Smith and Neville Kahn, partners at Deloitte, were appointed joint administrators to Blockbuster Entertainment Limited and Blockbuster GB Limited who trade as Blockbuster, January 16, with 528 stores.

Hundreds of shops were shut in the weeks after its collapse.

Blockbuster struggled to adapt to the changing market and rivalry from internet retailers including Netflix, Amazon's LoveFilm and iTunes, which now offers a movie rental service.

The devastating impact of the internet on Britain's high street had already been laid bare with the demise of camera chain Jessops and electricals group Comet, which also cited competition from online players as a major reason for their downfall.

The rental chain was acquired by a subsidiary of Gordon Brothers, TS 1973 Investment Holdings Limited.

A spokesman said the 264 stores across the UK and Channel Islands will continue to operate on a "business as usual" basis.

The deal has secured "substantial investment" for Blockbuster from Gordon Brothers, which said it intends to "fully utilise the existing trading platform, powerhouse brand and extensive customer database" of the high street chain.

"The company will focus on enhancing the customer experience through the use of new product offerings, new technologies and better basic retailing helping Blockbuster become a viable business once again," the spokesman said.

Frank Morton, the CEO of Gordon Brothers Europe, said: "We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Blockbuster.

"We acknowledge the industry is in transition; we know that we have a challenge ahead but there is still a market to be served.

"Blockbuster has a strong brand affinity and we believe that with the right mix of new product offering, new technologies, strategic management and marketing, we can bring new life to this high street staple.

"We look forward to working with employees, suppliers, landlords and other stakeholders to make this happen."

Former HMV UK and Ireland commercial director Gary Warren has been appointed as managing director of Blockbuster.