secretleaders | LoveFilm: Selling to Amazon – The Deal From Both Sides of The Table

LoveFilm: Selling to Amazon – The Deal From Both Sides of The Table

You may know that LoveFilm became Amazon Prime Video, that part of the deal was public knowledge. What you may not be familiar with is the wrangling, the deal making and the allegiance swapping that went on behind the scenes to get the deal across the table.

In this very special live episode of Secret Leaders we once again sit down with serial entrepreneur and angel investor, best known for creating Lovefilm and being an early investor in Secret Escapes, ‘the subscription guy’ William Reeve and VC Jedi, Simon Cook, to discuss the ins and outs of one of the most complicated business sales in recent history – when LoveFilm sold to Amazon.

Because this deal wasn’t straightforward in the slightest. A series of unusual mergers, buyouts, disputes and much more led to this being one of the more complicated deals of both their lives.

In fact, the only way to explain how convulated the deal was, is by comparing it to the plot of Game of Thrones. Simon was the VC on the board throughout the whole deal and Will was the founder of LoveFilm, yet neither of them are 100% clear on what went down.

It’s very rare to hear such insights from such a high profile sale, so grab a notebook and pen and learn what it takes to not just grow a subscription business, but how to sell it to a behemoth like Amazon.

“They [Amazon] could see we were winning. They said ‘we do not believe in being a loser in anything we do. We’d much rather have a small piece of the winner, than a big piece in the loser.’ And that was their indication they’d much rather sell to us than compete with us.”

We chat about:

  • Building up LoveFilm and plonking flags in Europe
  • Why competition drives business forward and sparks innovation
  • Why they teamed up with Amazon to defeat Netflix
  • Lessons learned – venture debt, paying attention to working capital and why raising venture capital is the worst thing a business can do


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The Secret Leaders podcast features interviews with key figures from the UK tech and creative ecosystem. From entrepreneurs (both early and latter stage), to journalists, VCs - and even royalty - the series profiles those who have helped shape the nation's culture of innovation and growth.

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