Amazon acquires LoveFilm as global competition for streaming movie market heats up

Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), playing catch up in the U.S. with other subscription movie services like Netflix, is making a move to dive deep into the European market, today announcing it had acquired the remaining shares in LoveFilm, currently viewed as "the Netflix of Europe."

Details of the transaction weren't disclosed, but TechCrunch estimates the deal is worth about $312 million; Amazon has had a 42 percent stake in the company since 2008 when LoveFilm bought Amazon's DVD business, which has a DVD-by-mail component as well as a blooming streaming business-currently about 20 percent of its movies are viewed on connected devices like Samsung and Sony Internet TVs, personal computers and the PlayStation3. The bulk of its 1.6 million subscribers are in the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

 LoveFilm, like Netflix, sees its future in digital delivery.

"LoveFilm has been innovating on behalf of movie rental customers across Europe for many years and with the advent of the LoveFilm player, they are further delighting customers by streaming digital movies for their immediate enjoyment," said Greg Greeley, Amazon's VP of European retail.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.

Netflix, meanwhile, launched a streaming movies service in Canada last year and has had great success with it. The company says it plans more international expansion in 2011, likely in a head-to-head battle with LoveFilm. Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey told the CBC, "Based on the early success of we're going to continue our international expansion next year and we're going to allocate significant dollars to it."

For more:
- see this Register article

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