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De Agostini eyes Taodue

Sale could shake up Italian TV world

Expanding Italo publisher Gruppo De Agostini, which recently snapped up Gallic TV production powerhouse Marathon, is eyeing local drama stable Taodue in a move that could shake up Italy’s TV landscape.

De Agostini has reportedly made a lavish offer for Taodue, the country’s leading miniseries production company, headed by producers Pietro Valsecchi and Camilla Nesbit, according to daily La Stampa.

Deal would make waves because Taodue — whose titles include John Paul II biopic “Karol: A Man Who Became Pope”; “Aldo Moro,” about the kidnapping and slaying of Italy’s former prime minister; and “The Last Godfather,” on Mafia boss Bernardo Provengano — is an exclusive provider to Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset TV group.

Calls to De Agostini and Taodue were not returned late Tuesday.

In July, De Agostini, a multinational outfit operating in 30 countries, acquired Marathon Group, maker of hit toon “Totally Spies” and long-running French export “St. Tropez.”

Earlier this year, it purchased a controlling stake in Italo production company Magnolia, which brings “Celebrity Survivor” to Italians. It also owns film distributor Mikado.

Like Mediaset, De Agostini has interests in Spain, where it is partnered with Grupo Planeta. Their DeAPlaneta joint venture holds a 43% stake in Spain’s Antena 3 web.

This burst of purchases likely means De Agostini is interested in becoming an Italo TV player. The cash-flush group is believed to be among potential bidders for financially ailing Telecom Italia Media, which operates terrestrial webs La 7 and MTV Italia.

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