Endemol gets bid offer from Time Warner
Washington, November 5, 2011
Time Warner has made a non-binding offer for debt-burdened Dutch TV production company Endemol, a spokesman for Endemol said.
Time Warner's offer values Endemol at 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion), including 600 million euros of remaining senior debt and 400 million euros of new equity from Time Warner, a person close to the restructuring said, adding that the rest of Endemol's debt would be written down if the deal goes through.
The offer for the "Big Brother" TV show maker should not come as a surprise as it is performing well and is a highly attractive asset, the Endemol spokesman said.
In August 2010, Time Warner paid 100 million pounds ($160 million) to take control of Shed Media, the company behind shows such as Supernanny, as the New York-based media conglomerate has looked to bulk up its international programming.
Time Warner is also looking to add more reality based programming formats which can more easily be sold to other markets.
Endemol is in the process of restructuring its 2.8 billion euros ($3.8 billion) of loans after failing to meet banking covenants. Lenders have agreed to waive this covenant breach until mid-November.
The approach "does not change anything. Our main focus is on reaching a solution with lenders. Those discussions continue to make good progress and we are confident that an agreement would put the business on a firm financial footing," said Charlie Armitstead, an external spokesman for Endemol.
The broadcaster is owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset, Goldman Sach's Capital Partners and Cyrte Investments, a boutique firm which manages Endemol founder John de Mol's investments.
"The lenders would be looking to recoup their loans," said a London-based analyst who declined to be quoted by name because he does not officially follow the company.
"It puts the debt holders in a stronger position as they now have an interested party in the assets, whereas before the equity owners could hold them to ransom with the argument that the lenders would not be able to recoup their money if they pulled the plug and sold the business at an auction."
A spokesman for John de Mol declined to comment and referred questions to insurer Delta Lloyd, which is the majority shareholder of Cyrte Investments.-Reuters