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 IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Virgin Interactive Entertainment plc ("VIE") today announced that Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation, a leader in the entertainment industry, has acquired 19.9 percent of VIE from certain of its shareholders in exchange for Blockbuster stock with an approximate market value of $30 million. In connection with its investment in VIE, Blockbuster also received various options to purchase additional shares from the VIE selling shareholders. The sale of shares to Blockbuster creates a strategic relationship and follows the previous sale of a 16.2 percent interest in VIE to Hasbro, Inc. Both of these new shareholders become strategic partners in the development of VIE's business.
 Commenting on the alliance with Blockbuster, Robert Devereux, Chairman of VIE, said: "In keeping with our culture and philosophy of finding suitable and strategic business partners, the alliance with Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation, one of the world's leading entertainment companies, should allow VIE to enhance its position in the fast growing interactive entertainment market. Blockbuster has invested and collaborated successfully in the past with other Virgin group companies through the Virgin Megastore Retail joint venture. This new link complements our existing partnership with Hasbro, and together we will have the opportunity to create a powerful and global company delivering entertainment software products in the home."
 Steven Berrard, Vice-Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Blockbuster, said: "We are pleased to be allied with VIE, one of the outstanding companies in the interactive entertainment marketplace. The transaction will create a global interactive entertainment company with significant potential."
 The business of VIE
 VIE pic develops and publishes video game and entertainment software compatible with the leading consumer hardware systems including Nintendo and Sega 8-bit and 16-bit consoles and portable systems, as well as personal computer and CD-ROM systems. The Company has actively published interactive software products since 1983. Virgin's titles are developed by its internal staff and by third party developers featuring proprietary content as well as intellectual properties licensed from others, and are sold worldwide to retailers, distributors and mass merchandisers. The Company has published over 200 versions of over 90 entertainment titles and sold over 13 million copies of its entertainment software products since July 1990.
 VIE, which has offices in California, London, Paris, Tokyo, and Hamburg, creates and develops its own intellectual properties and pursues broad licenses for highly recognizable and well-known animated and feature films, sports personalities, corporate logos and characters and board games. Virgin published 10 versions of 31 titles in the fiscal year ending 31 July 1993 across a variety of product categories, including best selling titles such as The 7th Guest, Monopoly Deluxe, Cool Spot and Terminator. Recently released titles include Aladdin and Robocop vs. Terminator.
 Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation
 A global leader in the entertainment industry, Blockbuster is the world's largest home video retailer and one of the largest music retailers. At December 31, 1993 Blockbuster had 3,593 video stores (2,698 company-owned and 895 franchise-owned) operating in nine countries and domestically in 49 states, and 511 music stores (including 20 megastores in a joint venture with the Virgin Retail Group) in seven countries and throughout the United States. Blockbuster also owns 70.5 percent of Spelling Entertainment Group Inc., and an equity stake in Republic Pictures corporation, both of which are leading producers and worldwide distributors of motion picture and television entertainment.
 -0- 1/17/94
 /CONTACT: (On VIE pic) (New York) Eileen Ostberg, Georgeson, 212-440-9851, or Simon Hill, Georgeson, 212-440-9822, or (London) Paul Downes, Georgeson, 71-454-7130; or (On Blockbuster) (Florida) Wally Knief, Blockbuster Entertainment, 305-832-3250/

CO: Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation; Virgin Interactive
 Entertainment pic ST: Florida, California IN: ENT REA SU: TNM

RK-CF -- FL002 -- 2406 01/17/94 09:05 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 17, 1994

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