U.S. News

Telefonica Sells Endemol to Consortium for 2.63 Billion Euros

Spain's Telefonica has reached a deal to sell the Dutch TV company Endemol, creator of the "Big Brother" show, for 2.63 billion euros ($3.55 billion) to a consortium including the Mediaset media empire controlled by former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi's family, Mediaset said in a statement.

Together, Mediaset, through an investment vehicle with its Spanish unit Telecinco, Endemol's founder John de Mol and Goldman Sachs' private equity arm, are buying Telefonica's 75% controlling stake in Endemol, the statement said.

Under the deal, the consortium must launch an offer for the remaining 25% as soon as possible at a price of at least 25 euros ($33.72) a share, including dividends of 0.45 euros ($.61) per share.

Telefonica, which recently joined a consortium to gain control of Telecom Italia, had sought to sell Endemol to focus on its core telecommunications business.

It bought Endemol in 2000 for 5.5 billion euros as part of a buying spree by the previous Telefonica chief executive but later floated 25% of Endemol's shares back onto the Amsterdam market for 9 euros each in November 2005.