Berlusconi empire teams with Clessidra for bid

Italian media giant Mediaset has joined Clessidra to bid for TV producer Endemol. Mediaset is owned by Fininvest, a Berlusconi vehicle whose former head left in 2003 to form Clessidra.

Clessidra has bid an undisclosed amount for TV producer Endemol, alongside former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s company Mediaset, according to a statement. Mediaset already owns one third of the Big Brother and Deal or No Deal producer, but has been planning to increase its ownership for a while. 

Private equity firm Clessidra has close ties with Berlusconi, as its founder and chief executive Claudio Sposito headed Berlusconi's holding company Fininvest, which owns Mediaset, for five years. Before this he worked as a managing director at investment bank Morgan Stanley for ten years. 

Clessidra, Mediaset and Endemol were unavailable for comment at press time. 

According to an Italian newswire, Berlusconi spoke to reporters about the matter: “We have made our offer with Clessidra. I think it is a good offer for the creditors and the future of the company. For sure, we will not participate in an auction if it were to come to that.”

Endemol has recently come under fire for its reported €2.8 billion debt, which it is currently in the process of restructuring by a debt for equity swap. Earlier this month, US media company Time Warner offered approximately €1 billion to buy the indebted company.

However, some reports have suggested the company is not to be sold immediately. Shareholders are likely to hang on the business until after any restructuring and its debt has been reduced to around the €500 million mark. Mediaset, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Cyrte, the investment company of Endemol co-founder Jon de Mol, originally bought Endemol for €3.4bn in 2007.