DeAgostini: Zodiak start of something big

Will be among three largest content producers

ROME -- Italian publisher DeAgostini said Tuesday that its efforts to acquire Sweden-based Zodiak Television Group are part of a wider effort to transform itself into a media company with more than 300 million euros a year ($471 million) in content development revenue, placing it among the continent's three largest content producers.

DeAgostini, which acquired control of content producer Marathon and producer and distributor Magnolia last year, was among the finalists to take control of Dutch reality television producer Endemol before losing out to a group led by rival Mediaset. Even so, its growing stable of companies places it among the main forces in the Italian content sector.

The company said it is confident that its 137 million euro ($215 million) takeover bid of Zodiak will be accepted. Once it is, the company said it will be on its way to joining Endemol and FremantleMedia among the continent's biggest content players.

Zodiak shareholders are expected to vote on the DeAgostini bid before the end of June.