Blockbuster likely to keep just 600 stores open

Blockbuster's sale to Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) is expected to close this week, and with that coming up, some more details about the fate of the 1,726 remaining stores (out of 4,000 the chain once boasted) are trickling out.

The Wall Street Journal reported the current number of leases the satellite TV provider won't pick up is hovering near 1,000, but the Dallas Morning News says documents filed with Bankruptcy Court this weekend the survivors may total closer to 600.

Dish spent $320 million to win Blockbuster in an auction earlier this month, outbidding several other interested parties, including billionaire Carl Ichan.

While Dish hasn't said what it plans to do with the remaining store, it's anticipated the company will maintain some retail presence as it works to launch a competitor-on some level-to streaming movie giant Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), or to at least get a piece of the expanding streaming video market.

Blockbuster once was the largest brick-and-mortar DVD and game rental company in the world with a market cap of $5 billion in 2002, but saw its business fall apart as competitors, especially Netflix, made it easier--and cheaper--to rent movies. It made an abortive attempt to recreate itself with a streaming product that hit the market far too late. It filed for bankruptcy in September and in February went up for sale when it couldn't come up with a solid reorganization plan.

For more:
- see this WSJ article

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