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Apollo eyes Endemol, Core merger

Peter Chernin may invest in merged company

Apollo Global Management is pushing for a merger of its Core Media and Dutch TV producer Endemol, which restructured its way out of near bankruptcy early this year and has been mulling its options every since.

Former News Corp. prexy Peter Chernin, whose investment company acquired 49% of Endemol India last summer, and Providence Equity, which gave him cash to do it, may also come on board if a transaction moves ahead, according to news reports.

Private equity giant Apollo already owns 30% of Endemol. Providence holds a stake as well after a debt-for-equity swap last January wiped more than $3 billion in liabilities off the struggling company’s books.

A merger with Core would combine its “American Idol” franchise with “Big Brother,” “Deal or No Deal” and other iconic Endemol fare. The talks were first reported in the Los Angeles Times.

Apollo, a major player in the financial space, could control the combined company.

The biggest obstacle to an Endemol deal remains co-founder John de Mol. While Endemol has had a number of suitors, including avid interest from Time Warner, founder De Mol is said to prefer buying out Apollo and other investors to selling the company.

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