As the production company responsible for Big Brother sinks further into debt, ITV is in talks with Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset over buying it.
Endemol, which also brought Secret Diary of a Call Girl to screens, is currently struggling with a £1.8bn debt which would be restructured by Mediaset and ITV's unconfirmed venture. In recent past, ITV has struggled with acquiring overseas commissions, so acquiring Endemol, with its 80 subsidiaries in 31 countries, would certainly be an important move. It would also aid ITV as it works towards expanding its in-house production, a strategy that would allow the company to increase the intellectual property rights it owns and sends abroad.
A source quoted in the Telegraph cites the talks as essential to chief executive Adam Crozier's "strategy of diversifying revenue away from advertising income." Joining forces with Mediaset to take ownership of Endemol, the source claims, would be "a solution."
Current investors Mediaset, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, and the Dutch investment group Cyrte (which has links to Endemol's co-founder John De Mol) own a third of the company each, and are also in discussions about a separate reconstruction of the debt, which would allow them to maintain their control of the Endemol board.