TalkTalk mooted as blinkbox buyer

TalkTalk mooted as blinkbox buyer

A new buyer for Tesco’s blinkbox platform could be announced next week, it has been reported, with TalkTalk emerging as a frontrunner.

The Financial Times has said that Dave Lewis, Tesco’s new c.e.o., will next week unveil his strategy for turning round the retailer, which was hit by an accounting scandal earlier this year when a whistleblower revealed the supermarket overestimated its first half profits by £250m.

Although it is unclear whether the sale will include the blinkbox Books platform as well as the video and music streaming services, the FT said TalkTalk is interested in the business as it would help it grow and give it access to thousands more customers. Talks are ongoing and “any deal could yet fall apart”, sources told the newspaper.

Tesco and TalkTalk declined to comment on the report.

Payment for Blinkbox would be “small because of its losses”. The three companies which make up the blinkbox brand – blinkbox Entertainment, blinkbox Books, and blinkbox Music - suffered a combined post-tax loss of £24.7m on total revenues of £3.5m according to results filed at Companies House for the year to February 2013.

Tesco bought e-book service Mobcast from Andy McNab and Tony Lynch for £4.5m in September 2012, which was then rebranded under as Blinkbox.

Blinkbox Books launched in March 2014, and was welcomed by publishers as a competitor to Amazon in the e-book market. It has recently started moving into the events space, sponsoring a HarperVoyager UK event with George R R Martin and Robin Hobb, and hosting a series of its own-branded events featuring writers including David Nicholls, Graham Norton and Caitlin Moran.