Apax mulls bid for Big Brother producer

UK firm Apax Partners, owner of HIT Entertainment, a children’s TV rights company, is looking again at the sector after its approach for ITV was rebuffed earlier in the year.

Apax Partners, a UK-based buyout firm, is weighing a bid worth at least £1 billion ($1.9 billion; €1.45 bnillion) for Endemol, the TV production company behind reality show Big Brother.

Apax, which was recently thwarted in a consortium approach for ITV, is deciding whether to team up with another buyout firm for the 75 per cent stake in Endemol held by Telefónica, a Spanish phone company, according to a report in The Times.

Telefónica is able to sell the remainder of its stake once a lock-up agreement dating back to its flotation last year expires.

There is no current auction for Telefónica’s 75 per cent stake in the Netherlands-quoted production company, however, the Spanish telecoms giant is believed to have already had interest from a number of parties.

Endemol is valued on the stock market at €1.67 billion (£1.15 billion), but the quoted business excludes a French subsidiary.

Mediaset, Silvio Berlusconi’s television group, is also keen to acquire Endemol and is in discussions with John de Mol, the company’s co-founder, about a possible joint bid. It has also been suggested that Vocento, the Spanish media company, is interested.