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BLOCKBUSTER NOT BUSTED; Staff celebrate as 2,000 jobs and 264 branches are saved in buy-out.

Byline: Keir Mudie

TROUBLED video firm Blockbuster was dramatically rescued last night - saving an estimated 2,000 jobs and 264 high street stores.

The rental chain was bought by a company specialising in turning around at-risk retailers.

Gordon Brothers - motto "creating value where others see none' - hopes to give it new life after administrators Deloitte accepted a bid yesterday. The agreed price was not revealed.

One insider close to the talks said: "It is a serious plan to try to secure a future for Blockbuster. It's not a case of a firesale or asset-stripping. Gordon Brothers are specialists in getting struggling companies going again. They may try something a bit different with Blockbuster and they feel there's life left in the brand."

American pay-TV provider Dish Network, which took over the retailer in 2011, is believed to have approved the deal, which left staff celebrating at 264 of the 528 UK branches.

Slump Blockbuster entered administration in January, just days after fellow high street giants HMV and Jessops.

It fell victim to a slump in shop spending - plus growing competition from online outlets such as Amazon, which has helped to damage sales of DVDs and games. Directors pulled the plug as losses leapt by a third to more than PS11million in 2012 and film rentals dived 13 per cent.

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

"With previously announced store sales, more than half of the original estate is secured for ongoing use.

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

The brand will be licensed from its US-based parent. Blockbuster UK's first shop opened in 1989.

keir.mudie@people.co.uk

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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Mar 24, 2013
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