Private equity firm Apollo Global Management is looking to build one of the biggest independent content companies in the world with a potential merger of CORE Media Group and Peter Chernin’s Chernin Entertainment into Endemol.
I hear Apollo controls the largest portion of Endemol debt, giving it a stake of about 30% in the company behind such reality franchises as Big Brother. Meanwhile, last year Apollo bought American Idol parent CKx (now CORE Media) for $560 million. Apollo is considering combining the two unscripted TV-focused entities and adding scripted TV outfit Chernin Entertainment to the mix. (Chernin’s company also has a feature division.) In order to bring in Chernin Entertainment, I hear Apollo will likely combine resources with Chernin investor Providence Equity Partners, but Apollo is expected to be in the driver’s seat as the controlling shareholder of a restructured Endemol with CORE and Chernin.
I hear if the plan comes to fruition, Chernin would be the Chairman of the global Endemol Worldwide, while CORE president Marc Graboff would be running the combined company. A merger of the three entities would create an instant TV powerhouse, melding Chernin’s rich Fox deal and the company’s scripted portfolio and CORE and Endemol’s extensive unscripted holdings.