Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/09/23/blockbuster_chap_11/

Blockbuster winds itself into Chapter 11

So I can keep that tape of Nine and a Half Weeks?

By Joe Fay

Posted in Financial News, 23rd September 2010 15:20 GMT

Ageing slackers everywhere will be crying into their caramel popcorn today at the news that Blockbuster has slipped into Chapter 11 before forgetting what they were doing and walking over to the fridge for some cold pizza.

The video rental chain, which was an essential part of early 1990s sofa culture, finally flaked out under the weight of almost $900m of debt. Even for a chain that has 7000 outlets worldwide, that's an awful lot of late fees.

The Chapter 11 filing is part of a refinancing deal, that has seen it reach agreement with bondholders of around 80.1 per cent of senior noteholders. The deal will see its debt shrink from nearly $1bn to a hopefully more manageable $100m, giving it space to continue the transformation of its business model.

In the meantime, the firm said its US operations will stay open and continue to serve customers. So sympathetic customers might want to dig out that old overdue Molly Ringwald video that's been lurking behind the sofa since 1991 and pop it in the drop box.

International operations are also unaffected, except for Argentina.

Chairman and CEO Jim Keyes, said: "The recapitalized Blockbuster will move forward better able to leverage its strong strategic position, including a well-established brand name, an exceptional library of more than 125,000 titles, and our position as the only operator that provides access across multiple delivery channels – stores, kiosks, by-mail and digital. This variety of delivery channels provides unrivaled convenience, service, and value for our customers."

While the Blockbuster brand is undoubtedly iconic, to younger consumers it probably seems like a slightly dusty place where your older brother, or even your parents, used to rent cut down analogue copies of films, buy really big bags of Doritos. And bitch about those damn late fees. ®