Blockbuster shares rose nearly 20 percent to 30 cents a share by midday trading on the NYSE today (Wednesday) on the news that the company had signed deals with several major studios allowing it to continue renting DVDs and Blu-ray discs on the day they are released -- unlike rivals Netflix and RedBox which have agreed to wait four weeks before offering them to customers. The Hollywood Reporter said that Blockbuster's deal with Warner Bros., Sony and Fox gives the studios a first lien on Blockbuster's Canadian assets. Nevertheless, some longtime shareholders who have seen their stock spiral downwards from around $10 per share just a few years ago may have been ticked off by the latest news reported on Tuesday that even as the company was reporting a net loss of more than $550 million last year, senior executives were awarded about $1.5 million in "discretionary" bonuses. Among them was CEO Jim Keyes, who in addition to his base salary of $750,000, was awarded a bonus of $400,000. The company said that it was granted because of his role in securing loans to the company last year. Two who executives who did not receive bonuses, Chief Merchandising Officer Bill Lee and Chief Information Officer Phillip Morrow, left the company, receiving $1.2 million in combined severance payments.

07/04/2010