FINANCE

Dish Network wins auction, acquiring Blockbuster for $228 million

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Satellite TV company Dish Network Corp. said Wednesday that it won the auction for Blockbuster with a bid valued at $228 million in cash. The transaction, expected to close the deal during the second quarter, needs bankruptcy court approval.

As of Tuesday, Dish, investor Carl Icahn and a group of debt holders were the three remaining bidders for the Dallas movie-rental chain, which filed for Chapter 11 in September.

Dish’s bid was for $320 million, but the value decreases to $228 million after adjusting for available cash and inventory.

"Blockbuster will complement our existing video offerings while presenting cross-marketing and service extension opportunities for Dish Network," said Tom Cullen, executive VP sales, marketing and programming for Dish Network, in a statement.

Blockbuster had shuttered some 600 stores in recent months. It currently has about 2,400 locations, but plans to close about 700 more by mid-April.

There were several rounds of bidding at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of New York on Tuesday before the courthouse closed for the day. The auction continued at law firm Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, where the proceeding was closed to the public.

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Walmart reports increase in global giving

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart announced that, through the Walmart Foundation, it has donated $319 million in cash and $480 million in in-kind contributions around the globe during the fiscal year ending Jan. 31. According to Walmart, the company’s U.S. giving grew by 64%, largely due to donations of produce, meats, poultry and other nutritious food to local food banks from Walmart stores, Sam’s Club locations and distribution centers.

"For many years we have used our size and scale to develop programs that have a positive impact on the serious social issues in the U.S. and around the globe," said Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. "Our funding is helping families put nutritious meals on kitchen tables, break barriers to finding jobs and gain access to a quality education. Through the programs that we support, millions of people are overcoming challenges and living better lives."

Walmart’s charitable donations in the fiscal year 2011 include:

  • $732 million in cash and in-kind gifts in the U.S., up from $467 million in fiscal year ending 2010;

  • $66.8 million in cash and in-kind gifts in international markets, up from $45 million in fiscal year ending 2010;

  • $114 million from Walmart’s customers and associates through in-store giving programs that benefit local charities; and

  • $913 million in total charitable contributions from Walmart, its Foundations, its customers and its associates around the globe in fiscal year ending 2011.

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Dish gets it done with Blockbuster buyout

BY CSA STAFF

Satellite television provider Dish Network was selected as the winner of a bankruptcy court auction for the assets of Blockbuster late Tuesday with a bid valued at $320 million, the company announced late that day. The actual cash price Dish will pay is closer to $228 million after adjustments are made for cash and inventory. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter, according to Dish Network.

“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, the company’s EVP sales, marketing and programming.

“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.”

The New York Times reported that Dish Network has been an active acquirer, as its founder, Charles Ergen, looks to expand his digital business. In March, the company agreed to buy the satellite operator DBSD North America for about $1.4 billion once it emerged from bankruptcy. Ergen, through another venture, EchoStar, has been buying up debt in the satellite company TerreStar Networks. In February, EchoStar announced plans to buy Hughes Communications, the satellite Internet company, for $1.3 billion. With Blockbuster, The Times suggests that Dish Network gains a large retail presence through which it can potentially sell services.

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