Amazon acquires European film rental startup Lovefilm | Science| In-depth reporting on science and technology | DW | 20.01.2011
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Amazon acquires European film rental startup Lovefilm

Lovefilm has subscribers in the UK, Germany, Norway, Denmark and Sweden. One European tech website estimated the deal at 231 million euros.


Lovefilm rents DVDs in five European countries

On Thursday, Amazon, the American retail giant, acquired Lovefilm, the European DVD rental-by-mail and online streaming company.

The size of the deal was not disclosed. However, the startup news site TechCrunch Europe put the deal at $312 million, or 231 million euros.

In 2008, Amazon sold its own European online video rental service to Lovefilm and then acquired a 42 percent stake in the company. Lovefilm currently operates in the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

Company officials laud the deal

Amazon logo

Amazon took a 42 percent stake in Lovefilm in 2008

"Lovefilm has been innovating on behalf of movie rental customers across Europe for many years and with the advent of the Lovefilm player, they are further delighting customers by streaming digital movies for their immediate enjoyment," said Greg Greeley, Amazon's vice president of European retail, in a statement.

"Lovefilm and Amazon have enjoyed a strong working relationship since Lovefilm acquired Amazon Europe's DVD rental business in 2008, and we look forward to a productive and innovative future."

Since launching in the UK in 2004, Lovefilm now has 1.4 million subscribers around Europe and has been growing rapidly. In December 2010, the site began streaming online films to German customers.

The deal is likely to be completly finished and approved by the regulatory authorities within the first quarter of 2011.

Author: Cyrus Farivar (Reuters, Bloomberg)
Editor: John Blau

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