The British online DVD rental firm Lovefilm has been put up for sale for an estimated $328m (£200m). It is understood that the six year old business has received a number of approaches.
Lovefilm has grown through a series of mergers and acquisitions with other online DVD rental companies, including Webflix, ScreenSelect and Amazon. With 1.2m members, it has become the market leader in mail-order film rental.
The company’s management, led by chief executive Simon Calver, owns a 7% stake in the business, while Amazon has a 32% stake after Lovefilm acquired its DVD rental business in Europe last year. The rest of the business is owned by venture-capital films.
Lovefilm said: “The board is considering a number of approaches and is exploring options on behalf of the group and its shareholders. The company cannot comment any further.”
Analysts suggest that a private-equity firm is the most likely buyers for the company. Lovefilm’s latest accounts are due to be published shortly and are expected to show that the group generated turnover of £73 million for 2008.
The company, which accounts for more than half of all DVD rentals in the UK, also rents console games and operates across the UK, Republic of Ireland, Germany and Scandinavia. It is currently testing a video-on-demand service that allows customers to download films straight on to their computers.
The company added: “We are developing a digital service and are currently testing things on an early beta platform. Details about the technology, content partners and timing of any roll-out are yet to be announced.