Endemol, Lenders Set to Reject Takeover Bids (Report)

Jeff Bewkes - Brookings Institute CEO Panel - 2011
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The debt-ridden reality TV show powerhouse is expected to pursue a debt-for-equity swap despite interest from the likes of Time Warner, led by CEO Jeff Bewkes, in a purchase.

NEW YORK - Reality TV giant Endemol and its lenders are set to go it alone despite a recent 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) takeover offer from Time Warner, the Financial Times reported.

Endemol and its debtors are expected to focus on finalizing a so-called debt-for-equity swap, which would convert debt into equity holdings in the company, according to the paper. Such a deal could cut the company's debt from 2.8 billion euros to about 500 million euros.

Creditors include private equity players Apollo Management, Centerbridge and Providence Equity Partners, as well as such banks as Barclays and Goldman Sachs.

The company behind such international TV hits as Big Brother and Deal or no Deal and its lenders are likely to write to prospective bidders soon to tell them that the business was unlikely to be sold, the FT quoted people familiar with the situation as saying.

Endemol and some of its lenders saw Time Warner's offer as opportunistic and too low, according to the FT. But it said if Time Warner were to make a higher offer, lenders could reconsider the sales option.

Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset had partnered with private equity firm Clessidra to express interest in Endemol without ever making a formal offer, the FT said.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai