Telefonica: Takeover Escape Artist

Can it keep predators at bay?

The TV show is called Big Brother, and it may well be the biggest rage in Holland since the tulip craze in the 1600s. The idea is simple. Nine young people live inside a house for 100 days, surrounded by microphones and cameras, and totally blocked out from the rest of the world. They eat, talk, read, and scuttle off to the bedroom from time to time, and an entire nation watches. It's the "real-life" drama taken to an extreme, and one of the biggest fans is Juan Villalonga, chairman of Spanish phone kingpin Telefonica. On Mar. 17, the Spaniard agreed to dish out $5.4 billion in stock for Endemol Entertainment, the Dutch TV company that produces Big Brother.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.