Cobalt Highest Bidder for Bankrupt Blockbuster, But Auction Drags On (Update)

Five bidders circling bankrupt video chain, including SK Telecom Company and Monarch Alternative Capital

(Update, 4:00 p.m. PST)

And then there were three. 

Carl Icahn, Dish Network and Cobalt Video, a consortium of lenders, continue to bid for Blockbuster into Tuesday night, but the public portion of the auction has closed. 

So far, Cobalt has taken the lead with an offer of $308.1 million, according to the Associated Press.

On the face of it, that's less than the $310.6 million bid from Icahn. However, Icahn's bid is less appealing to lenders because Cobalt's offer pays out more money to debt holders. Icahn is leading a group of liquidators. 

Dish is offering $307.1 million, according to the New York Times. 

Out of the race, is SK Telecom Co., which dropped out after the price tag for the Dallas based chain climbed above $300 million.

(Update, 1:57 p.m. PST)

Carl Icahn is narrowly edging out Dish Network in the auction for Blockbuster, according to Bloomberg.

Icahn has bid $310.6 million while Dish's offer hovers at $307.1 million.  

Earlier:

If Newsweek can be sold for $1, it's staggering to think that whoever buys Blockbuster on Tuesday will have to cough up many millionfold. 

After all, Blockbuster labored through much of the last year under nearly $1 billion in debt, far outflanked by the more nimble Redbox and Netflix. 

However, the New York auction for the bankrupt video chain reportedly has five major bidders vying to purchase the creaky Dallas based company. 

Chief among them is Dish Network, who has submitted the leading $284 million bid ahead of the auction, according to the Wall Street Journal

Close behind is Carl Icahn with a $280.9 million offer.

Other qualifying bidders include SK Telecom Co., and bid by liquidators Gordon Brothers Group and Hilco Merchant Resources.

Add to that a $265 million offer, which can be upped to $290 million, from Monarch Alternative Capital, and Blockbuster is shaping up to be the belle of the ball, despite wearing a Chapter 11 dress.