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Endemol Wins Approval to Push Debt Waiver to Mid-November

Endemol NV, the Dutch producer of the “Big Brother” TV shows, won approval from lenders to extend the waiver of loan terms for a second time, as it seeks to restructure 2.8 billion euros ($3.8 billion) of debt, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The waiver, extended once from mid-September until yesterday, will be further delayed to mid-November, giving Amsterdam-based Endemol more time to negotiate with creditors, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are confidential. Charlie Armitstead, a spokesman for Endemol in London, said talks with lenders continue to make “good progress,” declining to comment on the new deadline.

The Dutch producer is exploring options to restructure debt because widening losses may cause it to breach covenants on its loans. In June, Endemol said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ynon Kreiz resigned because of a difference of opinion about the company’s future direction.

“The business is less attractive than in 2007 as broadcasters are having to cut budget on buying content because advertising revenue is weak,” said Saverio Papagno, an analyst at AZ Fund Management in Luxembourg. Nevertheless, Mediaset considers Endemol as a strategic investment so they will try to retain control of the company,”

Mediaset, Goldman Sachs

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset SpA, Mediaset Espana Comunicacion SA, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Cyrte Fund II BV, an investment company founded by John De Mol, bought Endemol in 2007 using 2.8 billion euros of leveraged loans, including 325 million euros of mezzanine debt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Endemol’s enterprise value has fallen to between 800 million euros and 1.2 billion euros from 3.1 billion euros four years ago, two people with knowledge of the situation said in July.

Endemol's senior loans are quoted at between 48 and 53 percent of face value, down from 70.8 percent at the beginning of the year, according to data provider Markit Group Ltd.

Mediaset and Clessidra SGR SpA are ready to invest as much as 500 million euros in Endemol, daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported Oct. 30. Mediaset is looking for a partner to avert a potential dilution of its holdings, according to the newspaper.

Mediaset fell as much as 3.9 percent and traded at 2.60 euros, or 2.8 percent lower, as of 10 a.m. in Milan.

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