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21st Century Fox and private equity group Apollo Global Management are one step closer to selling off production giant Endemol Shine Group, the outfit behind the Masterchef and Big Brother TV franchises, as well as high-end drama series including Black Mirror and Peaky Blinders.
Endemol Shine has hired Deutsche Bank and Liontree to evaluate a possible sale. CNBC, which first reported the news, said co-owners Fox and Apollo have agreed to sell if a buyer can be found. Endemol Shine has been valued at $2.5 billion-$4 billion, including debt.
Endemol Shine declined comment, but sources close to the company, formed in 2014 through the merger of Endemol and Shine, confirmed buyers are being courted.
Fox’s stake in Endemol Shine is one of the assets Disney is eyeing in its proposed buyout of Fox’s entertainment businesses. Comcast, which has made a counteroffer for Fox, might also be interested in Endemol Shine, which would complement the international distribution operation of Comcast’s entertainment arm NBCUniversal.
Other potential buyers for Endemol Shine include the U.S. studios and major global producer/distributions, such as Discovery, All3Media, ITV or FremantleMedia. A sale would further consolidate the international TV business, which is already controlled by just a handful of major players.
Endemol Shine is a behemoth of the TV world, with dozens of production subsidies, including Britain’s Kudos (Humans) and Tiger Aspect (Peaky Blinders), Germany’s Wiedemann and Berg (The Lives of Others) and Toddlers and Tiaras producer Authentic Entertainment. Last year, the group produced more than 800 shows in 79 territories worldwide.
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