Amazon buys European film rental service Lovefilm

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Internet retail giant Amazon announced Thursday that it has agreed to buy British-based online film and games rental service LoveFilm for an undisclosed amount.

", Inc. today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire the remaining shares in LoveFilm International Limited," the US company announced in an official statement that was issued in London.

LoveFilm, which has been compared to US video rental group Netflix, has become one of Europe's top film subscription services over the past seven years.

The LoveFilm site boasts 1.4 million members across Europe and offers DVD rental by post and online movie streaming direct to computers, Internet-enabled televisions and other devices. It has a catalogue of 70,000 movies and games.

Prior to the deal, Amazon had a 42 percent stake in LoveFilm, which operates in Britain, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden.

"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," said Greg Greeley, Amazon's Vice President of European Retail.

The acquisition is expected to close, subject to regulatory approvals, in the first quarter of 2011.

"The deal is a winner for the members who love LoveFilm because of its value, choice, convenience and innovation in home entertainment," said LoveFilm International Chief Executive Simon Calver.

"With Amazon's unequivocal support we can significantly enhance our members' experience across Europe."

Key investors in LoveFilm include European venture firms Balderton Capital, DFJ Esprit and Index Ventures, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

© 2011 AFP

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