Online retail behemoth Amazon has announced it's purchasing LoveFilm, the European company that rents DVDs by post.
Amazon already owned a healthy chunk of LoveFilm, having bought 42 per cent of the company in 2008. That year also saw LoveFilm purchase Amazon's UK and German DVD-rental subscriber base.
Following the latest announcement, Amazon was keen to point out that LoveFilm's name, services and pricing won't change, at least not in the short term.
In the long term, it's natural to assume that the larger, more financially secure company might make some much-needed improvements to LoveFilm's service. While we love the fact that LoveFilm can stream video to Blu-ray players, TVs and computers, we've never cared for the film selection or quality, so our fingers are crossed that Amazon shares our concerns.
From Amazon's perspective, it also makes sense to shut the LoveFilm DVD store. After all, the LoveFilm store can't compete on price as a separate entity. Equally, it's reasonable to assume that Amazon will be adding 'watch now' and 'rent' buttons to its relevant DVD pages in due course.
We can't see any real downsides to the new deal. Amazon is a notoriously good company to be bought by -- it's largely left the likes of DPReview and IMDb alone to carry on their good work, although we aren't sure who to blame for the ghastly new IMDb design.
It's estimated that this deal values LoveFilm at some £200m. The sale will require regulatory approval, but this hurdle is expected to be cleared in the first quarter of 2011.