It was reported early by the FT, now it’s confirmed. Telefonica is selling its 75 percent stake in one of the original participatory TV format producers for 3.4 billion euros (US$4.6 billion). The lucky winners in the race for Dutch producer Endemol are Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset SpA and Endemol’s co-founder Jon de Mol. The company found success with the Big Brother show that involves viewers through text and phone votes, and also makes a number of digital and mobile productions. Goldman Sachs is backing the buyers and each will have an equal share.
De Mol had enjoyed a creative director role after selling the company to Telefonica for five billion euros in 2000 but the Spanish telco’s current management is more interested in buying up phone companies. It already owns the UK’s O2 carrier. Bloomberg: “To spur sales and reach new customers, Mediaset plans to offer new services such as distributing traditional and premium content on mobile phones, broadband and internet-based TV.”