Endemol Closes In on Debt-Restructuring Deal

Million Dollar Money Drop

The producer of “Wipeout,” “Fear Factor” and “Big Brother” says that more than two-thirds of its lenders back the current proposal.

LONDON – Global reality producer Endemol said Thursday that more than two-thirds of its lenders support a debt restructuring plan and that it is now pursuing the deal to completion.

The company behind Big Brother, Deal or No Deal and Money Drop is understood to be offering holders of the company’s $2.6 billion debt new options to reduce the overall burden to around $645,000, although this has not been confirmed by the company.

Endemol is jointly owned by Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset, Goldman Sachs and John de Mol’s Cyrte Investments, who acquired the company from Spanish group Telefonica in 2008. It is now thought that the original shareholders will cede control of a significant amount of their shareholding, allowing lenders including Apollo Investors and Centrebridge, among others, to have boardroom positions.

“Without the constraint of an onerous capital structure we will be able to pursue exciting growth initiatives and build upon the solid progress the group has made in 2011,” global president Marco Bassetti said in a statement.

Bassetti and finance director Just Spee have led the London-based company since chief executive Ynon Kreiz left the company last summer.

Endemol’s board is understood to have begun the search for a successor, but have yet to finalize a candidate.

Last month rejected a $1.3 billion cash takeover offer from Warner Brothers, with  insiders believing that a merger offer cannot be discussed until the restrucuring process has been concluded.