UPDATE: Silvio Berlusconi Tax Fraud Verdict Upheld By Italy’s Highest Court

By | Thursday August 1, 2013 @ 12:50pm PDT

UPDATE, 12:50 PM: Italy’s Supreme Court has upheld the tax fraud verdict and one-year prison sentence for billionaire Italian politician/media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, but because of his age (he’s 76) it’s unlikely he’ll go to jail, the BBC reports. The court did order a review of a five-year ban on public office that was part of the original sentence. Berlusconi faces house arrest or community service according to the report. The ruling today by Rome’s Court of Cassation came after a three-day hearing.

PREVIOUS, Tuesday: Italy’s Supreme Court will deliver its verdict in the tax fraud case against billionaire Italian politician/media mogul Silvio Berlusconi either tomorrow evening or on Thursday, his attorney said today. The court started hearing the case today and is the last stop on the appeals circuit for the Mediaset chief. He was sentenced in October last year to four years in prison and a five-year ban from politics for having inflated prices paid for broadcast rights to U.S. movies and TV shows via offshore companies controlled by his Fininvest holding company. Berlusconi and other execs were then alleged to have skimmed off part of the money to create illegal slush funds. Mediaset has benefited from an essentially free pass in terms of antitrust and other rules thanks to Berlusconi’s place in politics. But if the mogul were no longer allowed to stand for office, the conglomerate could be subject to any number of unfavorable new laws. Shares in Mediaset and other companies controlled by Fininvest were all up in trading today. Read More »

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Italian TV Mogul Silvio Berlusconi Convicted

By | Monday June 24, 2013 @ 9:35am PDT

Mediaset chief and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is racking up the jail sentences. In March, he was handed a one-year jail term over an illegal wiretap, and in 2012 received a four-year sentence over … Read More »

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Silvio Berlusconi Sentenced To Four Years In Jail For Fraud On Movie Rights Deals

By | Friday October 26, 2012 @ 8:55am PDT

Italian media mogul and erstwhile Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was handed a four-year jail sentence by a Milan court today, although it’s unlikely he’ll serve the time. Berlusconi and other executives at his Italian media conglomerate Mediaset were alleged to have inflated prices paid for broadcast rights to U.S. movies and TV shows via offshore companies controlled by Berlusconi’s holding company Fininvest. The accused were then alleged to have skimmed off part of the money to create illegal slush funds. The deals in question were worth 470M euros and occurred between 1994 and 1999, according to Reuters. The judge gave the controversial mogul a slightly longer sentence than the 3 years and 8 months prosecutors were seeking and also levied a fine of $12.96M. Berlusconi is expected to appeal the verdict in a case that began more than six years ago. Read More »

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Mediaset Exits Endemol With Debt Sale

By | Tuesday April 3, 2012 @ 8:16am PDT

Italian broadcaster Mediaset has sold 6% of senior debt in Big Brother producer Endemol. The amount equals the total of its remaining stake in the Dutch TV giant. In a brief statement, Silvio Berlusconi-controlled Mediaset announced it had sold the … Read More »

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Time Warner Refines $1.4B Bid For Endemol

The amount is the same as Time Warner’s previous offer for the reality TV producer. But the entertainment giant now tells Endemol that it’s willing to pay all cash — not a combination of cash and debt — if the company … Read More »

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Berlusconi’s Mediaset Co-Bids For Endemol

By | Friday November 25, 2011 @ 2:16pm PST

Just days after Silvio Berlusconi left Italian politics, he’s already on the hunt for Big Media. Berlusconi’s Mediaset and Italian private equity firm Clessidra have entered a joint bid for Dutch reality TV giant Endemol. “We have presented our … Read More »

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Endemol Puts Time Warner’s $1.4B Offer On Hold Pending Debt-For-Equity Swap

By | Monday November 21, 2011 @ 12:16pm PST

The creditors of Endemol — the Dutch reality TV company whose series include Big Brother – are hoping that they can elicit a higher bid following a restructuring. They’ve set a December 13 deadline for a planned debt-for-equity swap designed … Read More »

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Media Mogul Berlusconi Resigns As Italy PM

By | Saturday November 12, 2011 @ 2:26pm PST

Silvio Berlusconi’s rivals  in the media industry for years have accused him of massive conflicts of interest running the government that regulates Italy’s media industry, of which he is such a big part. Lawsuits, scandals, and plenty of brash talk … Read More »

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ABC To Adapt Italian Mafia Drama Series

By | Tuesday October 18, 2011 @ 2:46pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

ABC has put in development Anti-Mafia Squad, a drama based on the 2009 Italian series Squadra Antimafia – Palermo Oggi. David Hollander (The Cleaner) will write the script and executive produce with the original series’ distributor Mediaset, Little Engine’s Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo and Fluent Media’s Raul Mateu. ABC Studios is producing. The original series, which wrapped its third season in June, is set in today’s Palermo, caught in a war between mafia families for the leadership of Cosa Nostra after the arrest of the last godfather. It centers on two women: deputy chief of police Claudia Mares, who joins a special anti-mafia squad, and young Rosy Abate, a member of one of the oldest criminal clans, who returns to Palermo after a long stay in the U.S. ABC, ABC Studios, Matthews, Scharbo, Mateu and Mediaset originally tried to adapt the ICM-repped format last season, but the project had no writer and was rolled over to this season when CAA-repped Hollander was tapped for the job. I’m not familiar with Squadra Antimafia, but if there is something the Italians know how to do well it is mafia drama series/miniseries. If you haven’t seen the 1980s series La Piovra (The Octopus), I’d highly recommend it. Here is a trailer (in Italian) I found for the second season of Squarda Antimafia: Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: UK, Australia, France

By | Wednesday August 31, 2011 @ 3:00am PDT

Report: ITV Crafting Full Takeover Of Debt-Ridden Endemol
Commercial broadcaster ITV is reportedly seeking full control of Dutch giant Endemol if it buys the production company behind Big Brother. ITV is constructing a deal to acquire Endemol by taking on its $2B … Read More »

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Endemol Chair/CEO Ynon Kreiz Steps Down Amid Financial Restructuring With Lenders

2ND UPDATE: A key insider at Endemol explains to me, “I think there were issues in the way he ran the company and the decsions he made, and he lost the support of many of the employees. Like when you have a coach of a soccer team the players don’t buy into the way he’s managing the team.” Not only unpopular, Ynon Kreiz exits as Endemol is facing a 900 million euro write-off of loans to the Dutch-based company which produces Big Brother among many other unscripted shows around the world. Endemol also said this month it’s exploring options to restructure its debt as widening losses will cause it to breach covenants on 2.8 billion euros of loans, including 325 million euros of mezzanine debt used to fund its 2007 buyout. Reports are circulating of buyout interest from ITV, Time Warner, and News Corp. “Clearly there are debt issues and we’re going through a financial restructuring. There also was unhappiness with a huge payout to Kreiz, which didn’t sit well,” the key insider tells me. “But from a standpoint of creativity and new shows and long-running franchises and diversification of the company, we’re on solid ground.”

The announcement of a shakeup at the top was made today by Endemol’s shareholder board (different from the usual board of directors) and first published by the Financial Times. The mogul’s exit follows a three-year period of massive dealmaking and restructuring by Kreiz, who has been chairman/CEO of the Dutch-based global leader in entertainment programming and the world’s largest independent television and digital production company since June 1, 2008. Kreiz follows out the door the Endemol chief commercial officer Tom Toumazis, who exited a few weeks ago. (“Believe me, I didn’t send him a fruit basket either,” an insider snarks.) But lest anyone doubt it, Endemol is still alive and well as the unscripted giant produces content and partners with more than 400 broadcasters and cross-media platforms worldwide as part of a global network of more than 80 companies in 26 countries employing about 6,500 people. Read More »

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Endemol Shareholders May Be Forced To Inject Fresh Equity Before August Deadline

endemol-logoThat’s the only option open to shareholders Mediaset, Goldman Sachs and Cyrte, one media analyst tells me. Whether Mediaset owner Silvio Berlusconi or TV magnate John De Mol, the man behind Cyrte, will be happy doing so is another question. I’m … Read More »

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