Mediaset, the Italian media group controlled by the Berlusconi family, has sold its stake in Dutch production company Endemol.
In a statement released on 3 April, the Milan-based family business, which is the country’s largest commercial broadcaster, said it sold 6% of the TV producer’s debt, representing Mediaset’s entire stake.
Mediaset, which was founded in 1978 by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, did not disclose the value of the deal, but according to Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, it was €72 million.
Together with investment firm Cyrte and Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs’s private equity arm, Mediaset bought Endemol, which produces shows such as Big Brother and Deal or No Deal, for €2.6 billion in 2007 – with each controlling about a third of the company.
A number of institutions, including Apollo Management and Barclays Capital, backed the acquisition by providing €2.2 billion in loans. However, Endemol was later unable to fulfil the terms of the loan agreements, as earnings fell.
In January, Mediaset reduced its stake in the television producer through a debt-for-equity swap that gave control of Endemol to its creditors.