Mediaset prepping Endemol bid

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ROME -- Italian broadcaster Mediaset is developing a bid for Dutch reality television producer Endemol, the Italian conglomerate's chief executive said Wednesday, but indicated that the company will not make an offer for Italian Internet and phone company Fastweb.

Speculation about both potential bids has been ripe lately, but it has been the Endemol deal that has attracted the most attention.

According to Mediaset CEO Giuliano Adreani, the Endemol bid will be in conjunction with Endemol founder John De Mol, who sold the company to Spain's Telefonica and now wants to get it back.

Adreani was speaking during a Mediaset earnings call Tuesday.

"We're looking with great interest at Endemol and we're organizing a bid with De Mol," Adreani confirmed.

A bid for Endemol would fit into Mediaset's strategy of growing outside Italy as a way of sidestepping some of the limits that ongoing media sector reforms will place on the company's growth prospects.

But the company will not make a bid for Fastweb, a move that would have given Mediaset a major foothold in the telecommunications sector. Fastweb, a leading Italian Internet Service Provider and the country's second leading fixed-line telephone operator, received a €3.7 billion ($4.9 billion) takeover bid from Swisscom earlier this week.
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