Xtra-vision Industry Home Entertainment Founded 1979 Founder(s) Richard Murphy Headquarters Dublin
Republic of Ireland
Products Retailing and renting of VHS Tapes DVD, Blu-ray, and Video Games Website http://www.xtravision.ie http://www.xtravision.co.uk
Xtra-vision is Ireland's largest chain of video rental stores (or video libraries), founded in 1979 by Richard Murphy. It was previously operated by US company Blockbuster. As of August 2009 it is operated by Irish investment group Birchhall Investments. They operate over 200 stores across both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The company has a workforce of almost 1600 employees. The company offers DVD, Blu-Ray disc movies and games for both rent and sale along with music CDs and video games for various platforms. The company has offices in Dublin and Belfast.
Xtra-vision went into financial difficulties in the 1990s . The company went into receivership and was bought by businessman Peter O'Grady Walshe who later sold on the company to US giant Blockbuster.
The chain was run by Blockbuster from 1996, the chain never rebranded, citing market research that the Xtra-vision name was better known and more respected than Blockbuster. Even in Northern Ireland the Blockbuster name was not used as it is in the rest of the UK. The few Xtra-vision stores outside of Ireland - those in Manchester, London and New Hampshire were rebranded to Blockbuster after the takeover.
The company was involved in what was once Ireland's largest corporate insolvency, with massive expansion of their retail network causing a massive increase in their stock price on the Irish Stock Exchange. The company's value reached IR£27 million, but the low turnovers in the video rental market meant that there was no cash to continue their huge expansion—up to 10 new stores a week—and the company became insolvent with its shares valued at 1/8 of a penny on its sale to Cambridge Investments, who in turn went bankrupt and the business was sold for IR£12m to a consortium of Montague Private Equity, 3i, and the partners behind NCV (a local wholesaler of videos, etc..). Less than 2 years later the consortium sold out to Blockbuster. The failure of the group, in both guises, was notable enough to be mentioned in Dáil debates in 1994.
The company has an exclusive deal meaning that any movie with funding from the Irish Film Board will initially be provided for rental and sale solely through their network of stores.
In August 2009 Blockbuster sold off its Irish operations to Birchhall Investments.
In May 2011 the company was announced to be in examinership. The court ruled that the appointed examiner has 100 days to create a recovery plan for the company.
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