Dish, Icahn reportedly make bids for Blockbuster

By Dow Jones Newswires-Wall Street Journal
Posted April 1 at 10:35 a.m.

Dish Network Corp., the satellite-television company controlled by Charlie Ergen, and billionaire investor Carl Icahn have each submitted bids for Blockbuster Inc. before a bankruptcy court auction next week, said people familiar with the matter.

Bids for the movie-rental chain were due Thursday evening, and a handful of potential suitors have been considering whether to square off against a group of hedge funds that offered to buy Blockbuster for about $290 million, the people said.

The hedge funds, led by Monarch Alternative Capital, hold a big chunk of Blockbuster’s senior bonds and made a so-called “stalking horse” bid in February, setting a floor that other suitors must top to win the video-store chain.

The auction for Blockbuster is set for Monday in a federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan. Some other companies and private-equity firms also have been weighing bids for Blockbuster. South Korea’s SK Telecom Co. is among those weighing a bid, an official at the mobile operator said Thursday. The identities of the other bidders couldn’t be learned.

The value of the bids by Dish and Icahn couldn’t be determined. But suitors are just making minimum offers to qualify for Monday’s auction, bidding no more than about $296 million, one of the people said.

The process remains fluid and other bidders could emerge before Monday’s auction, the people cautioned. Some of the bidders could form coalitions before the auction concludes, and some could withdraw, the people said.

Dish declined to comment. Blockbuster and Icahn didn’t respond to requests for comment.

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