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De Mol mulls a bid for U.K. TV web Five

His Cyrte partners with Greek web Antenna for offer

John de Mol, co-founder of global entertainment giant Endemol, is the latest name to emerge as a bidder for U.K. broadcaster, Five, recently put up for sale by pan-European broadcast group RTL.

De Mol, who created “Big Brother,” is working with Greek broadcaster Antenna via his Cyrte Investments and Talpa Media companies, according to a report published Wednesday on the website of London’s Financial Times paper.

Five’s representatives have met more than a dozen potential buyers, but those who are serious about a bid number no more than five.

Bankers and analysts believe that RTL wants up to $245 million for Five, but, according to the FT, one potential bidder said that half that amount represented a realistic sum.

The broadcaster is performing better than last year when the fall in advertising revenue forced it to pink-slip one in three staff and slash its program budget by a third. This year the budget was increased by 10%.

“The advertising money is coming back,” channel controller Richard Woolfe told the Broadcasting Press Guild on Wednesday. “I am not saying we have turned the channel round yet, but we have a strong foundation.”

He declined to comment on the broadcaster’s future ownership — other than the need for investment when a buyer emerges.

Time Warner and ITV have both been linked to a bid for Five.

Rupert Murdoch’s cash-rich satcaster BSkyB is thought to have looked at Five, but decided against making an offer.

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