NEW YORK – Dish Network Corp.’s agreement to buy Blockbuster Inc.’s assets out of bankruptcy could keep the movie-rental chain and its blue-and-gold logo from disappearing.

But whether the No. 3 pay TV company can use Blockbuster’s brand, stores and streaming-video capabilities to create services more relevant to the age of Netflix and Hulu remains to be seen.

Dish, headed by billionaire Charles Ergen, won a two-day bankruptcy auction for Blockbuster that stretched into the early hours of Wednesday morning with a bid valued at $228 million in cash.

Dish has so far been mum about specific plans for Blockbuster, but in its announcement, the company highlighted the 1,700 stores that will remain and “multiple methods of delivery.”

Dish spokeswoman Francie Bauer said the Englewood, Colo.-based company would not comment further since the deal must receive court approval.

A hearing for that approval is set today. Dish expects the deal to close in the second quarter.

Satellite TV providers have been losing new subscribers as cheaper alternatives like Hulu and Netflix become more popular.

Ergen has in past calls with analysts praised Netflix, which offers unlimited streaming video at a monthly price along with a DVD-by-mail service.

Acquiring Blockbuster will make Dish a more viable competitor in streaming video online. It’s doing so at a price easily affordable for Dish, which had nearly $3 billion in cash as of Dec. 31.


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