By Dow Jones Business News,
January 14, 2014, 04:44:00 PM EDT
By Anthony Harrup
MEXICO CITY--Mexican retail and banking company Grupo Elektra has bought video rental chain Blockbuster de Mexico
from Dish Network Corp. and is betting it can expand the business by adding new technology and banking services to the
Elektra, controlled by Mexican businessman Ricardo Salinas Pliego, paid 408 million pesos ($31.1 million) for the
chain, which includes 320 stores across Mexico. Elektra also acquired the rights to the Blockbuster brand for two years,
and said Tuesday it intends to keep Blockbuster de Mexico's current chief executive and most of the company's 2,600
Elektra said it will add financial services under its Banco Azteca brand, and expand the line of electronics goods
available at the stores.
Luis Nino de Rivera, chief executive of Banco Azteca, said the intention is to upgrade the technology at the
Blockbuster stores, so that customers will be able to rent videos and videogames remotely, while Banco Azteca services
will also be available though online platforms.
Elektra's plans for Blockbuster contrast with the U.S., where Dish said last year it planned to close its remaining
300 stores by this month, citing the shift among consumers to online distribution of videos.
In Mexico, Blockbuster is totally different, Mr. Nino de Rivera said. The chain, with 1.6 million registered users,
had sales of around $170 million in 2012 and generated cash flow of around $19 million. "It's a profitable business, and
we're going to expand that business," he said.
The acquisition will add 7% to overall floor space at Grupo Elektra, which runs 6,460 stores and points of sale in
Mexico, the U.S., and other Latin American countries.
Write to Anthony Harrup at email@example.com
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