Updated: Blockbuster Seeks Bankruptcy Advice, Report Says; Company Denies It

imageUpdated: *Blockbuster* spokeswoman Karen Raskopf denied the claim, acknowledging that they’d hired the firm for refinancing — not bankruptcy (via Bloomberg).

*Blockbuster* hasn’t released its Q408 numbers yet — but with reports that the company has retained legal counsel for a potential bankruptcy filing, there’s no need to wait until then to know that its losses have continued to mount. Bloomberg reports that Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI) hired Kirkland & Ellis, LLP to help evaluate a number of restructuring options; though neither party would confirm, the news sent Blockbuster’s stock down by as much as 86 percent before trading was halted. Rival Netflix’s shares were up more than 6 percent.

Blockbuster has a heavy debt load and has done everything, including trying to renegotiate lease prices for about a third of its stores, to help cut some of it down. It has also tried lowering rental prices of some movies to 99 cents, beefing up its mail-order service with games, and even launched a streaming video player to lure consumers back from competitors like Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) and Redbox. But clearly, it hasn’t been enough. Then, there was Blockbuster’s failed bid to buy out Circuit City last year — wonder if there’s a buyer left out there with pockets deep enough to get the movie retailer out of its own hole.

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