Telefonica Lines Up Six Bidders For Endemol Stake

Spain’s Telefonica has selected six bids for its 75 percent stake in Dutch TV producer Endemol. Thomson Financial reports suitors include one consortium comprising former Endemol owner John de Mol, Italian broadcaster Mediaset and Goldman Sachs; another led by Apax Partners and a third involving French private equity firm PAI Partners and Endemol’s French head Stephane Courbit. FT adds that Mexican broadcaster Televisa and Thomas H. Lee Partners are also in the second-round auction mix. Endemol has pioneered interactive, participation-led TV and driven up mobile operator revenue, with shows like Big Brother and Fame Academy having become hit multimedia formats around the world, and offers channels several SMS-based games. The UK subsidiary has dedicated gaming, mobile and web design divisions. The WSJ (sub. req.) says bidders have until May to make binding offers, but Telefonica is likely to get only around EUR 3 billion ($4 billion) for the stake it acquired for EUR 5.5 billion ($7.4 billion) in the nineties.