Online retail giant Amazon this morning brought an end to months of speculation by announcing that it was to buy DVD-to-games rental and download service LOVEFiLM.
Amazon already owns a 42% minority stake in LOVEFiLM International, which operates in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Denmark. It will now buy the remaining 58% share for an undisclosed sum.
Greg Greeley, Amazon’s vice president of European retail, said: "LOVEFiLM has been innovating on behalf of movie rental customers across Europe for many years and with the advent of the LOVEFiLM player, they are further delighting customers by streaming digital movies for their immediate enjoyment.
"LOVEFiLM and Amazon have enjoyed a strong working relationship since LOVEFiLM acquired Amazon Europe's DVD rental business in 2008, and we look forward to a productive and innovative future."
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of this year and may mean international expansion for LOVEFiLM in line with Amazon's own European operations.
Simon Calver, chief executive of LOVEiILM International, said: "The deal is a winner for the members who love LOVEFiLM because of its value, choice, convenience and innovation in home entertainment. With Amazon's unequivocal support we can significantly enhance our members' experience across Europe."
LOVEFiLM, which has been operating for seven years, offers its 1.6m members a choice of more than 70,000 titles via DVD, Blu-ray, video games, and digital streaming through the LOVEFiLM player, which is used through the PC, PlayStation3 and streamed direct to TV.
Rumours of the potential acquisition have been circulating for some time. Earlier this month we reported on news that a deal, first mooted in the summer, was imminent.