Blockbuster puts Euro arm up for sale

FILM rental chain Blockbuster has put its European arm up for sale, it emerged yesterday.

The indebted US company wants to sell its European division, which it values at about £50m, to raise cash, a report said.

Blockbuster has hired corporate finance house Winchester Capital to find a buyer for the European arm, which has 650 British stores as well as outlets in Denmark, Ireland and Italy.

Winchester Capital is a private transatlantic investment bank based in New Haven, Connecticut, US, and London, UK.

Founded in 1986, Winchester specialises in mergers and acquisitions and global private equity.

No one at the company could immediately be reached for comment.

Blockbuster, founded in 1985, has been battling with debt since it was spun off from Viacom, the US media conglomerate, more than a decade ago.

Last month the group said it was working with financial advisers Rothschild on ways to increase its liquidity, including a possible recapitalisation. Blockbuster has sought to establish its brand in rapidly emerging new channels such as digital downloads and vending kiosks.