February 24, 2010 / 7:01 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Blockbuster talks with advisers on reworking debt

* Blockbuster talks with advisers

* Weil, Gotshal and Rothschild among advisers -source (Adds company confirming discussions)

LOS ANGELES, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Blockbuster Inc BBI.N said on Wednesday it was talking with several advisers, including a law firm and an investment bank, to explore ways for the video rental firm to recapitalize its $1 billion debt load.

Law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges and the bank, Rothschild Inc, are among parties involved in the discussions which are focused on various strategies, such as acquisitions or partnerships, a source familiar with the matter said.

The Wall Street Journal reported bondholders were talking with advisers to move toward reworking Blockbuster’s capital structure, such as converting debt to equity.

The newspaper also said Blockbuster was in talks with Hollywood Video rental chain Movie Gallery Inc MVGRQ.PK, which filed for bankruptcy for the second time in three years earlier this month, about acquiring assets.

Blockbuster, which reports fourth-quarter earnings later on Wednesday, is struggling to pare huge debt it inherited a decade ago when it was spun off from Viacom Inc VIAb.N as it faces mounting competitive pressure from Netflix Inc (NFLX.O), Coinstar Inc’s (CSTR.O) Redbox as well as Apple Inc (AAPL.O), other Internet and cable companies that have expanded video-on-demand offerings.

Last month, the once-mighty U.S. video chain said it had a weaker-than-expected holiday season, fueling concerns about its viability. [ID:nN21221995] (Reporting by Susan Zeidler, editing by Matthew Lewis)

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