Tesco’s Blinkbox Books to close as Waterstones talks break down

Tesco has failed to reach an agreement with Waterstones for the sale of Blinkbox Books, despite entering a period of exclusive talks, which will result in the closure of the e-book business in the coming weeks.

Tesco managed to sell its movies business to TalkTalk for an estimated £25m, while its music arm was today (26 January) sold to Guvera for an undisclosed sum.

A spokesperson told The Drum that the talks with Waterstones had "failed to reach a positive outcome" but declined to go into the specific financial terms or reasons for the breakdown.

“We have taken the decision to close our eBook service Blinkbox Books. We’ve learnt a lot since launching the service and whilst we saw encouraging levels of take up, we believe that we can do more for our customers by focusing on our core business. The service will close by the end of February.”

The e-book service launched last March following Tesco’s acquisition of Mobcast for £4.5m.

Despite having 100,000 registered users the service made just £70,000 worth of sales culminating in a pre-tax loss of £2m for the year ending February 2013.

As a result of the decision, Tesco will enter into “period of consultation” with the 60-strong staff behind the venture, with a view to making redundancies.

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