Mediaset to Bid on Troubled Reality TV Production Company Endemol
ROME – Mediaset, the Italian broadcast and cinema giant controlled by Italy’s recently ousted prime minister, has said it will make a bid to take over troubled Dutch reality television producer Endemol.
The bid, which will be made jointly with Italian private equity fund Clessindra, was not quantified. But bankers say the company -- which created Big Brother, Deal or No Deal, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition -- is worth around €1.1 billion ($1.4 billion) despite being saddled with around €2.8 billion ($3.7 billion) in debt.
Time-Warner is also reported to be interested in taking over the company.
Berlusconi, who is on trial in Italy on three separate civil cases, resigned as Italian Prime Minister Nov. 12 amid personal and political scandals and the growing reach of Europe’s debt crisis. It is not clear if he played a key role in evaluating whether to make a bid for Endemol.
Mediaset is Europe’s largest media conglomerate, with holdings that include three national television networks in Italy and one in Spain, plus cinema production and distribution company Medusa, a large media buying company, and a variety of print media companies and Internet holdings.