Endemol scotches RTL bid rumor

Mediaset, Clessidra kick prod'n company's tires

BERLIN — Speculation surrounding a possible sale of Endemol heated up on Tuesday with reports that pan-European broadcasting giant RTL Group had made a non-binding offer for the Dutch television production company.

Italy’s Mediaset and private equity firm Clessidra are also looking to take over of Endemol, according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

So far, however, Endemol has only confirmed a non-binding offer from Time Warner, which has made a $1.4 billion bid for the production and distribution group, producer of such hit formats and scripted shows as “Big Brother,” “Deal or No Deal” and “Hell on Wheels.”

Endemol spokesman Charlie Gardner said that while the company was attracting interest from potential buyers, it was not aware of any offers from RTL. An RTL spokesman told Variety that the company would not comment on such speculation.

Gardner declined to comment on reports that Mediaset, an Endemol shareholder, and Clessidra were teaming up to buy out the group’s other shareholders, including Goldman Sachs and Cyrte, a company owned by Endemol founder John De Mol.

Endemol has been exploring options to restructure its debt in view of widening losses.

Gardner said the company’s discussions with lenders continued to make good progress and the company was confident of an agreement.

The Time Warner bid had been passed on to Endemol’s lenders, he added.

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