Sainsbury’s expands into online downloads, buys Global Media Vault for £1m


Sainsbury’s has bought online entertainment company Global Media Vault from MBL Group for £1 million, as the UK’s third largest supermarket chain looks to offer film, game and music downloads. The acquisition will support the retailer's drive into the growing online and digital entertainment market, following the launch of the Sainsbury's Entertainment website in November 2010.



GMV is a white label online digital entertainment business, and Sainsbury's was already its main client.

The firm has a database of three million films, games and albums. Downloads can be purchased and distributed through the internet as well as mobile, TV and kiosk services.

Luke Jensen, Sainsbury's group development director, said taking full control would enable it to enhance the functionality and would mean customers "will soon be able to buy, rent or stream content from Sainsbury's".

The acquisition is also said by Jensen to be a 'big' time saving move when compared to building a platform from scratch. He added. Global Media's 15 employees will transfer over to Sainsbury's.

MBL, based in Leyland, Lancashire, put itself up for sale earlier in the year after it lost nearly four-fifths of its revenues when Morrisons scrapped a huge CD and DVD supply contract.

MBL acquired Global Media in 2009 for £840,000 but said in August it was looking to sell as the costs of developing the software for the platform were too high.

In the year to March, Global Media lost £2.9 million, which was part of an overall deficit for MBL of over £21 million after huge write-downs and jobs cuts following the Morrisons contract loss.

Earlier this year, Morrisons made its first step into the ecommerce arena with the £70 million purchase of Kiddicare, with the view to using its new technology platform as a foundation for its own non-food online business.

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