Apollo Closing In on Endemol Deal

Endemol hit show format "Big Brother"

Sources say the U.S. investment group has reached a tentative deal with creditors to take control of the "Big Brother" producer.

U.S. private equity group Apollo Global Management appears to be close to taking control of international TV giant Endemol, producer of Big Brother and Deal or No Deal.

Sources say that Apollo has reached a tentative deal with Endemol's creditors to increase its current 30 percent stake in the Dutch reality TV producer and secure majority control of the company. Apollo is already Endemol's largest single shareholder following a debt-for-equity swap back in 2012, when Endemol was restructuring its massive debt load and Leon Black's private equity group stepped in to take over a major chunk.

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Since then, Apollo has been vying for control of Endemol as has Dasym Investment Strategie (formerly Cyrte), a Dutch investment group partially backed by Endemol co-founder John de Mol. De Mol's production company, Talpa, produces global format hit The Voice.

Sources say an Apollo deal would likely see the group buy Dasym's stake in Endemol. All parties have so far declined comment.

If Apollo succeeds, it could mark a seismic shift in the reality TV business worldwide.

Apollo already controls American Idol parent Core Media and after acquiring its stake in Endemol mused on plans to merge the two companies.

At the time, it was reported that Apollo was considering a scenario that would see Peter Chernin and Core president Marc Graboff take top executive spots in the merged company. Providence Equity Partners, an investor in Chernin's Chernin Entertainment, is an Endemol creditor.

For Endemol, which has been a plaything of creditors and equity groups for years now, any deal that would provide stability would be welcome.