"Um, No." Blockbuster Responds to Shareholders' Demands. And: A New Ad?
From the new Blockbuster commercial advertising its advantage over Netflix and Redbox with some new releases
For the past week -- which is to say, ever since Bronx bomber Harry Niko Celentano sent a letter to Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes demanding an emergency stockholder meeting -- I've been trying to get an Official Response from the downtown-based company; so too Celentano. And, for the past week, nothing. And during that time, the number of shareholders joining Celentano and his disgruntled ranks has swelled: Initially he had 172 men and women possessing more than 11.02 percent of all voting shares. According to a Web site launched at the beginning of the week, BlockbusterShareholders.com, it's now up to 357 shareholders with 19.09 percent of all voting shares.
Which, in the end, wasn't enough to sway Blockbuster to publicly address their myriad concerns, most of which deal with the mysterious circumstances that led to the New York Stock Exchange's delisting Blockbuster following a shareholder vote that proved inaccurate for reasons yet to be explained. Late yesterday, Blockbuster forwarded to Unfair Park a copy of the letter it sent Celentano in which vice president and general counsel Rod McDonald said, sure, the company doesn't like being delisted any more than the shareholders, but it's not going to call an emergency meetings. Instead, Blockbuster is "thoughtfully considering various courses of action in response to the actions taken by the NYSE," McDonald writes in the missive that follows. Keyes sent the shareholders a message yesterday that says the same thing.
Investor Robert Boff, who's leading the charge with Celentano, writes that "we will spend the weekend draft our response that asks questions and demands answers. We are not ruling out that the group may decide to force a proxy contest to demand the new vote we were requesting."
In the meantime, there's yet another unexpected development: Blockbuster -- which has hired a chief restructuring officer and had to put off making a $42.4 million debt payment on July 1 since it's got about $109 million cash in hand -- has made ... a teevee advertisement! Surprising, since Keyes acknowledged at the late June shareholders meeting that the company had no dough to advertise outside of the stores. The ad, celebrating its 28-day new-release advantage over the Netflix and Redbox, apparently debuted at week's end. But I've only seen it on YouTube. It follows as well. And, you know what? Kinda funny. Not as funny as this. But, still.