Amazon has bought itself a foothold in the European movie rental and streaming business, possibly to stop Netflix from getting there first.

Online retail giant Amazon has announced that it will acquire the European movie and videogame rental company LoveFIlm, or at least, the parts of it that it didn’t own already. Launched in its current state in 2006, LoveFilm is essentially a European version of Netflix and has 1.5 million members spread across the UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

Amazon’s VP of European retail, Greg Greeley, said that LoveFilm had been providing an innovative service for years, and looked forward to continuing to do so in the future. LoveFilm CEO Simon Calver said that the deal was great news for LoveFilm customers and would allow the company to expand and enhance its service going forward. Many believe that this acquisition is a defensive ploy by Amazon in order to check a possible expansion into Europe by Netflix.

Amazon already owned a 42% share in the business, following LoveFilm’s purchase of Amazon Europe’s DVD rental services in 2008. It’s not known exactly how much the deal – which won’t be finalized until March – is worth, but it’s thought to be in the region of £200 million, or nearly $320 million.

Source: MCV

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