Mike Fleming

The Blockbuster video chain slogan “Make it a Blockbuster night” hasn’t been relevant in a long time. But it was apt last night. Bidders battled through the evening to capture the distressed asset before Dish Network closed a deal worth $320 million at around 3 AM East Coast time. That bested rival offers that included one from Carl Icahn. The deal has to pass bankruptcy muster, but the bid includes $228 million in cash, which at least gives studios a chance to recoup some of the money owed for past merchandise shipments. Can Dish figure out a way to capitalize on a once mighty brand? I can remember standing in long lines on a Friday to rent a movie, and enduring exorbitant late charges because Blockbuster had more copies than rental store on the hot movie you wanted to see. But with the $1 Redbox option available in kiosks at every supermarket, and Netflix’s painless streaming program and mail rental system, can anyone remember the last time they even stepped foot in a Blockbuster store? Blockbuster’s brick and mortar strategy was exposed as a dinosaur strategy when those other services began to rise, and the behemoth moved too slowly to adapt to the times and protect its turf. Here is the official statement from Dish:

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., April 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) announced that it was selected as the winning bidder in the bankruptcy court auction for substantially all of the assets of Blockbuster, Inc. DISH Network’s winning bid was valued at approximately $320 million. After certain adjustments are made at closing of the transaction, including adjustments for available cash and inventory, DISH Network expects to pay approximately $228 million in cash to acquire Blockbuster at the closing which is expected to occur in the second quarter of 2011.

“With its more than 1,700 store locations, a highly recognizable brand and multiple methods of delivery, Blockbuster will complement our existing video offerings while presenting cross-marketing and service extension opportunities for DISH Network,” said Tom Cullen, executive vice president of Sales, Marketing and Programming for DISH Network. “While Blockbuster’s business faces significant challenges, we look forward to working with its employees to re-establish Blockbuster’s brand as a leader in video entertainment.”

Completion of the transaction is contingent upon satisfaction of certain conditions, including bankruptcy court approval.