DALLAS — Blockbuster Inc. is in advanced talks to buy Movielink as a way to speed its entry into the online movie-downloading business, people familiar with the situation said.
Movie-rental giant Blockbuster would pay less than $50 million in cash and stock for Movielink, which is owned by five major studios, said one of those who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not final.
The companies declined to comment.
Movielink has offered movie downloads since 2002. Recent competitors include Apple Inc.'s iTunes and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
John Antioco, Blockbuster's chairman and chief executive, has been hinting that the company would get into the digital-download business in 2007.
Blockbuster shares rose 17 cents, or 2.6%, to $6.81.