Buy makes Endemol tops in Italy

Distrib outfit takes 51% stake in Palomar

AMSTERDAM — Dutch-based production and distribution outfit Endemol Entertainment has added Rome-based Italian TV drama and nonfiction program producer Palomar to its fast-breeding collection of European production companies.

Under terms of a deal struck with Palomar, Endemol will take a 51% stake in the company, with Palomar co-founder and managing director Carlo Degli Esposti holding the remaining shares. As with most of its buy-ups, Endemol has an option to increase its stake in the future. It also owns 100% of Milan-based Aran Endemol.

Endemol retains goal

Spanish conglom Telefonica is in the process of taking over Endemol, but an Endemol spokesman said the deal, if finalized, will not change the acquisition strategy of Endemol. “We will still be an independent group of companies with the goal of becoming the top European producer,” he said, adding that the Palomar deal would make Endemol the largest independent TV producer in Italy.

Palomar, which in 1999 generated revenues of some $15 million, creates and produces current affairs material for TV newsmagazines such as “Mixer,” as well as educational series. It has also successfully introduced and adapted TV formats such as “The Real World” to Italian audiences.

Company is perhaps best known for its “Inspector Montalbano,” an Emmy-nominated police whodunit series based on the novels of bestselling author Andrea Camilleri. Last year alone Palomar cranked out a low- budget pic, four drama series and five educational or informational series.

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