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French media company Banijay close to buying Endemol - source

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(Reuters) – French media company Banijay is close to sealing a deal to acquire Endemol Shine, the production house behind such global television hits as “The Voice” and “Black Mirror,” a source close to the matter said on Tuesday, confirming earlier media reports.

The deal would end a months-long, bumpy race for Endemol Shine to find a buyer. The combined group with Banijay, which produces “The Temptation Island,” would generate close to 3 billion euros in annual revenue, beating British rival ITV.

Netherlands-based Endemol, co-owned by Walt Disney Co and private equity group Apollo Global Management, was put up for sale in July 2018 with a price tag of 2.5 billion euros-3 billion euros.

The business drew interest from several bidders at the time though the pool of suitors eventually shrank, with European broadcaster RTL Group walking away in August of last year.

Banijay, founded by French businessman Stephane Courbit, is controlled by his holding company Lov Group and DeA Communications, a company owned by Italy’s De Agostini Group. French media conglomerate Vivendi also owns a minority stake.

French newspapers Le Figaro and Les Echos reported earlier on Tuesday that talks for an acquisition of Endemol by Banijay for an enterprise value of about 2 billion euros, including debt, were close to reaching a deal.

The source, who could not be named because the talks are private, declined to confirm the valuation.

The Daily Telegraph was first to report the news, followed by the Financial Times.

(Reporting by Christian Lowe and Mathieu Rosemain in Paris; Editing by Leslie Adler and Matthew Lewis)

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