Blockbuster nears bankruptcy

The one-time video-rental king could file for Chapter 11 as soon as this week.

By TheStreet Staff Sep 22, 2010 11:59AM

thestreetBy Jeanine Poggi, TheStreet

 

Blockbuster (BLOKA) may soon be put out of its misery.

 

According to The Wall Street Journal, a Chapter 11 filing could come any day this week.

 

The company is in its final stages of preparing the filing, which could arrive as soon as today but most likely Friday or next week, the Journal reported.

 

The article also notes that Blockbuster will try to continue operations but will shutter 500 to 800 more stores on top of the 1,000 it was already planning to close.

The one-time king of video rentals has steadily lost market share to Netflix (NFLX), as well as Coinstar's (CSTR) Redbox kiosks, and has been trying to play catchup in the digital world.

 

Blockbuster is saddled with nearly $1 billion in debt and is scheduled to repay $42 million to creditors on Sept. 30. The company has already pushed back the payment twice.

 

Shares of Blockbuster are plunging 23% to 6 cents on over-the-counter trading. But NFLX is surging on the news, up 6.2% to a new high of $156.35.

 

Reports also surfaced last week that billionaire investor Carl Icahn holds about one-third of senior debt, which would give him veto power in any restructuring plans.

 

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