De Mol sells Talpa Scandinavia

Company produces 'Missing Link'

LONDON — Two weeks after regaining control of Endemol, John de Mol has sold his 75% stake in Swedish production arm Talpa Scandinavia to founder and CEO Anna Carrfors Brakenhielm.

Following the management buyout, the Stockholm-based company will be 100% owned by Brakenhielm and rebranded as Silverback. It will continue to own and distribute all formats created under the previous ownership structure, including new reality show “Missing Link,” which follows a group of eight contestants as they attempt to live like gorillas in the Ugandan jungle.

According to Brakenhielm, the MBO has been planned for some time and has nothing to do with de Mol’s involvement in the recent E2.6 billion ($3.5 billion) acquisition of Endemol, which owns a 35% stake in Scandinavian production group Metronome TV.

“It has more to do with international distribution,” she said. “I love to handle the international deals myself.”

Earlier this year, Talpa Content set up its own distribution arm in the Netherlands, which will continue to distribute formats such as “The Golden Cage.”

Brakenhielm, who was previously CEO of MTG-owned Strix, the company behind the original version of reality hit “Survivor,” is focusing her efforts on “Missing Link.” This weekend, she will fly out to Los Angeles to pitch the format to U.S. networks and producers. The show has already been picked up in Germany.

Talpa, meanwhile, has once again played down reports that de Mol is close to selling his Dutch TV channel Tien to RTL.

News of a deal was announced earlier this week on an RTL Web site but was quickly removed. According to Talpa spokesman Thomas Notermans, talks are continuing with potential buyers.

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