De Mol stakes out moppets

TV mogul buys into Fox Kids net

This article was updated at 5:31 p.m.

AMSTERDAM — Billionaire TV mogul John de Mol, co-founder of global production outfit Endemol, has picked up a 5.1% stake in children’s network Fox Kids in the latest phase of a buying spree that is not expected to end soon.

This month the chairman-turned-chief creative officer of Endemol also bought a 4.1% share in EMI, the third-largest music group in the world, and boosted his share in U.K. soccer team Manchester United from 3.5% to 4.1%. All buys were made through his investment company Talpa.

Frank Botman, managing director of Talpa, said De Mol intends to invest in gaming soon.

De Mol last year picked up 10% of ISP Versatile, 6.9% of ISP Lycos and 30% of luxury sports car company Spijker. He also invested in major auto racing club 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In addition he recently purchased a Danish radio license, part of his plan to launch a European radio network. Last year he bought Radio 10 and Radio Northsea, making him the biggest commercial radio owner in Holland. The new Danish radio station is set for launch Nov. 15.

Botman said Talpa intends to exploit global brands across platforms. “We believe that there will be a basic change in the relationship between the producer and the consumer,” and the investments reflect that, he said.

The sale of Endemol to its parent group Telefonica several years ago made billionaires of the company’s majority stakeholders, De Mol and co-founder Joop van den Ende.

De Mol signed an agreement not to compete with Endemol; that pact expires in October 2005.

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