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Telefonica mulls float for Endemol

Proposed sale could be popular with investors

MADRID — After months of rumors, Spanish telco giant Telefonica said Monday it is studying the possibility of floating part of TV production powerhouse Endemol, producers of formats such as “Big Brother” and the last jewel in its depleted media crown.

Reviewing full year results, Telefonica prexy Cesar Alierta told analysts that the telco was mulling a public listing of a minority stake late 2005 or early 2006. Alierta explained the part float arguing that Endemol’s book value was less than public perception.

Alierta’s admission comes two weeks after Endemol Holding denied reports in the British press that Telefonica was planning a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

A float could be popular with individual private investors due to Endemol’s brand strength in Europe. Endemol can also play off modest but sustained fundamentals for a listed company. Per Telefonica results, Endemol revenues rose 13% in 2004 to e1.03 billion ($1.36 billion). Operating cash flow reached $239.5 million, up 9% on 2003. Telefonica attributed the rise to increased sales of library formats, including in the U.S.

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