Watch out Netflix! Blockbuster In Advanced Talks to Acquire Movielink

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If the deal happens, Blockbuster would be the only company able to offer the coveted video triple-play: combining movies offered online, through the mail, and in-store. Could that be enough for even the diehard Netflix fan to switch? Here are details:

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports that Blockbuster is closing in on an acquisition of Movielink, the online movie-downloading company jointly owned by a bunch of Hollywood studios.

The price tag is relatively small at less than $50 million in cash and stock but could provide Blockbuster with a quick entry into the online movie market (which it so desperately needs; the company is constantly one step behind the competition). Movielink has been around since 2002 but hasn’t been very successful. And now it doesn’t stand much of a chance on its own, what with Apple, Amazon, and Wal-Mart all in the picture.

But Blockbuster combined with Movielink could be a powerful enough duo to be reckoned with. Blockbuster CEO John Antioco has said he believes the company needs to offer the “triple play” of rental options: immediate online access, through the mail, or in stores. And Movielink for $50 million would be a bargain in terms of this much needed strategic move. Especially considering that Blockbuster management has determined that creating its own platform would be extremely expensive and time consuming.

Currently, Movielink is jointly owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Studios. Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time Blockbuster tried to buy the company. Talks fell apart in 2005, but this time around it’s looking a bit more serious…

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