Dutch billionaire John de Mol isn't in advanced talks with anyone to buy Dutch TV producer Endemol NV, the company he co-founded and then sold to Spain's Telefonica SA (TEF) in 2000.
``On behalf of this company I can say there are no advanced negotiations about buying back Endemol with whoever, including Disney,'' De Mol's spokesman Thomas Notermans said in a phone interview today. De Mol's Cyrte Investments BV holds a 5.15 percent stake in Endemol.
Endemol shares have doubled in the last year after Spain's La Gaceta de los Negocios reported yesterday De Mol is in talks with Walt Disney Co. to bid for Endemol. The same daily today said News Corp. is interested in bidding for Endemol, again without citing anyone. News Corp. spokesman Andrew Butcher denied the report.
Madrid-based Telefonica owns 75 percent of Endemol and has said it wants to sell the holding. Telefonica in November 2005 sold about 25 percent of Endemol's stock in an initial public offering on Euronext Amsterdam. Telefonica bought the company for about 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) in shares.
Endemol shares rose 33 cents, or 1.6 percent, to 20.65 euros in Amsterdam, valuing the company at 2.58 billion euros. The stock earlier today jumped as much as 12 percent. The shares have risen 19 percent this year.
Cyrte's holding in Endemol is ``just fine,'' Notermans said. Notermans, who is also spokesman at De Mol's Talpa Media Holding NV, declined to say whether there are talks at all to buy back the company De Mol helped found.
``Cyrte's stake in Endemol shows it's an interesting media company and that it fits within its portfolio,'' he said. Notermans didn't want to say if De Mol is interested in buying a majority stake in Hilversum, Netherlands-based Endemol.
``We're not interested'' in Endemol, News Corp. (NWSA:US) spokesman Butcher said. ``We never looked at it. We never intended to look at it.''
Endemol spokesman Peter Krenn declined to comment on the newspaper reports.
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