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Endemol sale moves closer

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Endemol shareholders have this morning voted to approve the purchase of the company's French arm, a move which will give owner Telefónica the green light to sell the production company outright.

At the meeting in Amsterdam today, 83% of shareholders agreed to the proposal to merge with Endemol France, the only remaining barrier to an outright sale of the Big Brother producer.

When Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica bought 77.7% of Endemol for 5.5 billion Euros in November 2005, the French arm was excluded due to a disagreement over payouts to management.

An outright sale is expected to be discussed at a board meeting in Madrid today, with any deal to be completed by March.

Original founder of Endemol, John de Mol is reported to be going ahead with a bid for the company with investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Endemol France head Stephane Courbit. private equity group Apax and Italian media group Mediaset has also been linked to bids.

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