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Mediaset zeros in on Endemol

Co. in bidding for 'Brother' creator

ROME — Mediaset will be in the bidding for “Big Brother” creator Endemol, but only if the price is right, the company’s deputy chairman, Piersilvio Berlusconi, said in an interview published in Thursday’s Corriere della Sera.

The Silvio Berlusconi-controlled broadcaster is tipped as one of the front-runners to bid for the 75% stake in Endemol that Spain’s Telefonica intends to put on the block.

Mediaset has been airing reality TV program “Grande Fratello” for years, attracting some of its highest ratings.

“There would be an industrial fit,” said the deputy chairman, who’s the son of the former prime minister. “But the price remains a fundamental variable.”

He also pointed to Endemol’s territorial reach throughout Europe and North America as a plus.

Mediaset top brass have been telling investors recently that the company is looking to expand beyond its core Italian market as the TV advertising outlook in Italy continues to sag.

Piersilvio Berlusconi also signaled Mediaset’s intention to move further into Italy’s rapidly growing broadband market, perhaps with a downloadable pay-per-view offering of its TV and movie programming.

In doing so, Mediaset would be going head-to-head with Telecom Italia, which has been expanding into IPTV of late with a broadband TV offering of its own.

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