After a ruling a few weeks ago by a U.S. bankruptcy court judge that BB could avoid Chapter 7 liquidation and go on the auction block, Redbox parent Coinstar announced this morning that it had acquired Blockbuster and all of its assets for $401 million. Read the full press release after the jump.
Here’s the release put out by Coinstar/Redbox this morning:
Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. – Coinstar Inc., a leading provider of automated retail solutions and parent of popular movie rental provider Redbox, announced today the pending purchase of Dallas-based Blockbuster Video. Under the terms of the agreement, Coinstar will acquire all Blockbuster properties and inventory, including Canadian assets, for the sum of $401 million in cash and stock.
This acquisition will end the licensing of the Blockbuster name to ATM manufacturer NCR, which has been branding its kiosks as “Blockbuster Express” and using the trademark blue and yellow Blockbuster livery for several years. Blockbuster’s online operations will also cease.
Within 90 days of final settlement of the acquisition, all current Blockbuster locations will temporarily close for remodeling and rebranding. The stores will then reopen with a vastly revised interior layout. Instead of the traditional brick-and-mortar video store with rows of shelves displaying titles, the stores will feature innovative touch screen panels lining interior walls and around a central lounge area. These panels will allow customers to browse thousands of new release and catalog titles, watch previews, and add movies to their virtual shopping carts. Customers will then be able to “check out” their selections through the familiar Redbox interface on kiosks located every few feet along the panels.
“We couldn’t be more excited about this historical acquisition and the new store concept that will shortly follow it,” said Mitch Lowe, president, Redbox. “Due to overwhelmingly positive feedback from focus groups, we believe that these updated stores will hit the ‘sweet spot’ for consumers when it comes to selection, convenience and value.”
Each remodeled store will also feature a “Constellations” coffee/snack bar staffed by specialized baristas trained in Hollywood trivia. Former Blockbuster president Jim Keyes has been tasked with overseeing Constellations operations.
“Our ‘staristas’ will be able to serve up both delicious lattes and insightful movie recommendations, which will add a great ‘human touch’ to our stores,” said Keyes. “It’s going to be exciting to watch satisfied customers walk out of our locations with a stack of movies in one hand and an espresso in the other.”
The remodeled former Blockbuster stores will be feature a new name along with their new look and layout: RedBlox. “We feel that RedBlox is the perfect name for our new store concept,” said Lowe. “It’s a great extension of our existing Redbox brand, and elegantly fuses elements of the Blockbuster name and experience into an exciting new name and brand personality.”
Redbox’s current network of more than 30,000 kiosks will continue its operations and expansion. Titles rented from Redbox kiosks and RedBlox stores will be conveniently returnable at either location.
Consumers can learn more about the new RedBlox stores and when locations will be opening in their areas by visiting www.whatisredblox.com.
What do you think, Insiders? Could anyone ever have predicted the day when former industry upstart Redbox would help bankrupt and then acquire the king of video rental stores, BB? How successful do you think these new RedBlox hybrid stores will be? Did you fall for our annual April Fools’ Day joke?