Goldman and Berlusconi join co-founder for Endemol deal

Goldman Sachs Capital Partners has teamed up with co-founder John de Mol and former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to buy television production company Endemol, in a €2.6 billion deal.

The buyout arm of Goldman Sachs has led a consortium that has bought a 75 percent stake in Big Brother maker Endemol from Spanish telecoms group Telefonica. The €2.6 billion ($3.5 billion) deal values the company at around €3.4 billion.
 
Goldman Sachs Capital Partners has joined forces with the company’s co-founder John de Mol, via his Cyrte investment fund, and Mediaset Broadcasting Group, which is part-owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
 
The other 25 percent of Endemol was floated by the Spanish telecoms group in 2005. The bidders will offer a minimum of 25 euros to acquire these shares, which at 14:41 BST were trading at €24.37, down 0.53 percent.
 
The return of de Mol to the company has left the head of its French arm Stéphane Courbit in a difficult position. Courbit told Dow Jones earlier this year: “If a bid from John de Mol for Endemol is favoured, I’m not certain to be willing to stay.”

Courbit was also believed to have partnered with a rival bid involving French buyout firm PAI Partners.  

The Financial Times also reported that Endemol’s Spanish management had threatened to leave the company.

Goldman managed to see off numerous other rival buyout firms, including US group TH Lee and UK-based Apax Partners, as well as rival broadcasters US channel CBS and Mexican firm Televisa.

Analysts believe the deal represents a very full price for the company, which produces the Big Brother and Deal or No Deal television formats. 

This has been Berlusconi’s largest deal since losing the Italian election last year to Romano Prodi.

Goldman declined to comment.