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Endemol appoints new CEO – is Codemasters a target?

By on May 20, 2008

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.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: