Is Blockbuster Selling Off Its European Division to Pay Off Big Debt? Maybe.

After trading today, Elm Street-based Blockbuster will released its second-quarter financials -- "and the numbers are expected to be ugly," notes Investor's Business Daily in this pre-game warm-up that also wonders if the video-rental business's days aren't, gulp, "numbered." The cause for alarm? As usual, of late, a big hunk of debt about to come due -- and the fear is Blockbuster won't be able to make the payment unless it continues to sell and shutter properties. Notes IBD, "Unless Blockbuster sells some assets, such as its European operations, it likely will default on its loans, says Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities."

Funny you mention that, Michael Pachter: This morning, The Irish Times is smiling upon its report that Blockbuster may indeed be selling off Xtra-vision, its European operations and the only Blockbuster-owned company not actually called Blockbuster. A spokesman in Dallas wouldn't say yup or nope, but did acknowledge "the firm had been exploring the sale of its international assets, with a focus on licensing its businesses in those countries where it operates under the Blockbuster brand." Maybe Blockbuster oughta think about going by the Xtra-vision moniker in the U.S.: It would offer a fresh start, and it sounds like a place where Superman rents his movies.


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