In a development that is not entirely surprising, but still significant, Amazon has taken its stake in European DVD/streaming service LOVEFiLM and increased it to 100%. While rumors have floated for years that Amazon should or would acquire Netflix, they’ve gone ahead and made a play for its European counterpart. From the press release:
Amazon.com, Inc. today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire the remaining shares in LOVEFiLM International Limited (www.LOVEFiLM.com). LOVEFiLM is a leading European subscription entertainment service which combines the benefits of online DVD and games rental-by-post as well as streaming films and TV shows instantly over the internet to PCs, internet enabled TVs and Playstation®3. LOVEFiLM operates today in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Amazon already has a significant minority shareholding in LOVEFiLM and does not itself operate any similar business in Europe.
“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 Vice President of European Retail. “LOVEFiLM and Amazon have enjoyed a strong working relationship since LOVEFiLM acquired Amazon Europe’s DVD rental business in 2008, and we look forward to a productive and innovative future.”
“The deal is a winner for the members who love LOVEFiLM because of its value, choice, convenience and innovation in home entertainment,” said Simon Calver, Chief Executive of LOVEFiLM International. “With Amazon’s unequivocal support we can significantly enhance our members’ experience across Europe.”
The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.