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Endemol appoints new CEO – is Codemasters a target?
Ynon Kreisz has just been appointed Chief Executive of Endemol, the TV production company that makes Big Brother and Deal or No Deal.
The production company was acquired for €3.1 billion last year by Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, Mediaset and Cyrte Investments and has €2.6 billion of debt that needs refinancing.
Ynon was, until recently, a partner at Balderton Capital (formerly Benchmark Europe) where he oversaw Balderton’s investment in Codemasters. Unusually for a venture capital investment, Balderton bought out the entire stake of the original Darling family to take control of Codemasters (although I guess the new senior management have substantial shares or options too)
Goldman Sachs is also involved in Codemasters, having provided financing to the tune of £50 million.
Ynon said that he expects Endemol to “play a key role in driving convergence between media and technology” and the FT commented that he was only persuaded to take the job after the three investors convinced him that the debt load would not prevent him from making further acquisitions.
So could we expect a repeat of the John Riccitiello/Pandemic-Bioware acquisition where an experienced executive joins a venture capital firm, invests in a major games business, returns to corporate life and promptly buys the games company he invested in?
So Endemol to buy Codemasters? It’s not inconceivable.