Media company interested in majority stake

MEXICO CITY — Mexican media conglom Televisa is among investors going after Spanish telco Telefonica’s majority stake in production company Endemol, according to media reports.

The Mexican web is facing another tough bidding war, going head to head with Thomas H. Lee Partners – who was among the group of investors that beat out Televisa in its bid for U.S. Hispanic net Univision – as well as other deep-pocketed investors.

Televisa’s spokesmen could not confirm the bid.

The Financial Times reported Thursday that Televisa, Thomas H. Lee Partners and at least three other groups made it to the second round in the auction of Telefonica’s 75% stake in Endemol. Final bids will be due mid-May.

Other bidders include Endemol co-founder John de Mol, who has teamed with Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset and Goldman Sachs. Investment company Apax Partners with former Endemol chief operating officer Tom Barnicoat has made a bid as has French equity group PAI Partners, according to media reports.

Dutch company currently produces a mix of skeins, realities and digital media in 25 countries.

Televisa, run by topper Emilio Azcarraga Jean, has been aiming to expand internationally. But it was thwarted last year in its attempt to acquire Univision by a group composed of media mogul Haim Saban, Thomas H. Lee Partners and others.

Televisa is now flush with cash, having sold its stake in Univision for $1.1 billion, further padding existing cash reserves of at least $1.7 billion. But its uncertain if Televisa has any partners in its bid. Web’s execs burnt bridges with some of the private equity groups, such as Blackstone and Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co., it had enlisted to support its bid for Univision.

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