Mediaset, Endemol pact on TV venture

Deal creates joint venture with Italy's Aran

MONTE CARLO — Silvio Berlusconi’s TV group Mediaset and Dutch-based Endemol Entertainment will join forces in Italy via Endemol’s unit Aran, Berlusconi’s son Piersilvio said at a convention in Monte Carlo.

“We will ink the agreement very soon. We want to create a joint venture with Aran Endemol to produce TV product for our three terrestrial networks and in particular soaps,” said Berlusconi, a Mediaset VP. “Later we will consider selling our product abroad.”

Founded and headed by Marco Bassetti, Aran is one of Italy’s largest TV production companies. It supplies programming to both public and commercial broadcasters and produces some of Italy’s most successful TV dramas, including successful soap “Living,” aired by Mediaset flagship Canal 5. It’s producing the Italian version of “Big Brother,” also aired by Canal 5.

Endemol, part of the Spanish group Telefonica, acquired a 45% stake in Aran two years ago.