Amazon has acquired the remaining shares in DVD rental and movie streaming service Lovefilm International, effectively giving the online retail giant 100 per cent ownership. And while this is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to go through without a hitch before the end of the fiscal year in March.
Lovefilm has recently expanded from its DVD rental core business by signing content delivery deals with Samsung and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, among others, in order to supply an Internet movie streaming service direct to TVs and the PlayStation 3.
In the US, Amazon.com already has an online streaming service called Amazon video on demand, but it is unknown at present whether the Lovefilm brand will remain in the UK, or whether the technology and infrastructure will be absorbed into Amazon.co.uk.
Speaking about the acquisition, Greg Greeley, Amazon¹s vice president of European Retail, said: "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".
He also reiterated that the DVD rental company was actually a part of Amazon originally, and is merely coming back: "Lovefilm and Amazon have enjoyed a strong working relationship since Lovefilm acquired Amazon Europe¹s DVD rental business in 2008, and we look forward to a productive and innovative future".
Additionally, Simon Calver, chief executive of Lovefilm International, is similarly upbeat: "The deal is a winner for the members who love LOVEFiLM because of its value, choice, convenience and innovation in home entertainment. With Amazon¹s unequivocal support we can significantly enhance our members¹ experience across Europe".
Whether the buy-out will affect staffing levels or Lovefilm's current working practices remains to be seen.