Icahn, Dish Bid for Blockbuster Assets: WSJ

Satellite television company Dish Network Corp (DISH.O) and billionaire investor Carl Icahn have submitted bids for bankrupt movie rental chain Blockbuster Inc (BLOAQ.PK), the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The bids, which were due on Thursday, will qualify the two suitors for an auction in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan on Monday, the Journal said.

A spokesman for Dish, led by satellite billionaire Charlie Ergen, declined comment on Friday. Icahn did not return calls seeking comment.

Richard Kanowitz, a lawyer for the unsecured creditors at Cooley LLP, confirmed that "more than two" bids for Blockbuster were received.

Once the world's largest video rental chain, Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September with about $900 million in debt.

A group of hedge funds led by Monarch Alternative Capital had already made a so-called "stalking horse" bid of $290 million for the company in February, setting the floor that other bidders had to top to buy the company.

SK Telecom Co Ltd (017670.KS) South Korea's top mobile carrier, was also considering an investment in Blockbuster, an official of the company told Reuters on Wednesday. [ID:nTOE72T009]

The amount of the Dish and Icahn bids could not be determined, the Journal said. Bidders were submitting minimum offers, less than $296 million, to qualify for the auction, the newspaper said, citing one of the people familiar with the matter.

Blockbuster's brand could be valuable for Dish's video-on-demand services or it could be an outlet to sell Dish subscriptions, the Journal said.

Icahn has been interested in buying Blockbuster for some time and vied with the Monarch group to be the initial bidder for the company.

The case is in re: Blockbuster Inc, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No 10-14997