Blockbuster back in administration

Blockbuster back in administration

Struggling DVD rental chain Blockbuster faces being broken up by Christmas after it formally went into administration today – for the second time this year.

Corporate recovery specialists, who have now taken charge of its future, say parts of the business have attracted the interest of potential buyers – though some are only eyeing up store sites to be taken over as Morrisons did earlier this year.

Blockbuster announced two weeks ago that it intended to go into administration, putting jobs at risk.

In a statement today, it said: “In the last fortnight, efforts have been focused on finding a buyer to give the company a chance of future survival. Regrettably, no buyer has yet been secured for the business.”

Now, it has formally appointed Simon Thomas and Nick O’Reilly of Moorfields Corporate Recovery as administrators.

Mr Thomas said: “We are pleased to say that there are parties who are interested in parts of the business. Our focus will be secure a future for as much of the business as possible as well as trying to save jobs before Christmas.”

Rents have been paid on many stores only until around Christmas Day meaning that any commitment to stay open beyond that period looks unlikely without a deal.

Blockbuster, which has 264 stores in the UK, has been hit hard by competition from supermarkets as well as the rise of streaming services and online movie rentals.

It went into administration in January, before being bought by private equity group Gordon Brothers Europe in March.

At the time of its initial collapse, it had 528 stores in the UK employing 4,190 staff – numbers that have since halved.

Announcing the intention to go into administration again at the end of last month, Gordon Brothers said its turnaround attempts had coincided with a patch of poor trading across rental and retail sales.

It said its efforts had included restructuring, investing in marketing and negotiating new deals with landlords. But it failed to broker a licensing deal with US company Blockbuster LCC, which owns the brand, for a new digital platform.

Gordon Brothers chief executive Frank Morton said the firm had “worked tirelessly to turn around Blockbuster UK with a raft of strategies and investments”.

Moorfields said: “Whilst the company is in administration, every effort will be made to ensure retail trade continues as normal. We encourage customers to visit stores and continue to rent and buy as usual.”

Supermarket chain Morrisons bought 49 of Blockbuster’s former stores in February under plans to expand its convenience store network.

Last week, the axe fell on 300 US Blockbuster stores leaving the once-dominant chain with just 50 franchised shops remaining open in the country.

More in this Section

Official: 'Banks are starting to forget hurt caused by financial crisis'Official: 'Banks are starting to forget hurt caused by financial crisis'

Downturn didn't stop CloudCIX expandingDownturn didn't stop CloudCIX expanding

HR body warn against employers putting on free bar at Christmas partyHR body warn against employers putting on free bar at Christmas party

Employment numbers up by 63,000 in 2018; Live Register figures down by 1.2% in NovemberEmployment numbers up by 63,000 in 2018; Live Register figures down by 1.2% in November


The Marquee in Cork dominated the gig news this week, with a string of announcements for what is expected to be the final year at the Monahan Road venue before the site is developedScene + Heard: The most played artist on Spotify and all the latest music news

Esther N McCarthy picks perfect paperweights, brilliant books and Christmas collectables this week.Brilliant books and Christmas collectables - here's our wish list

John Spillane tells Ellie O’Byrne how he’s hoping to fund his next album by taking the bardic route of writing unique compositions for people on whatever they’d like‘I’ll write you a song for €1,000' - John Spillane's unique way to fund new album

From starring in a Cork-set film, to securing a role in Ridley Scott’s major new HBO series, it has been quite a year for Niamh Algar, writes Esther McCarthyIreland’s next big thing: Niamh Algar on her incredible year

More From The Irish Examiner