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Barnicoat leaves 'BB' production house

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Endemol's chief operating officer Tom Barnicoat is to leave the Dutch production giant "with immediate effect."

The move comes on the eve of the long-expected sale of Spanish telco Telefonica's 75% stake in the Big Brother and Deal or No Deal producer.

Endemol said today that Barnicoat will receive a severance and pension payout totaling around £2.8 million. His responsibilities will now be handled by "other members of the Endemol management board".

His departure will fuel speculation that the former chief executive will join one of the potential bidders.

Among others linked to a bid for the company include former owner John de Mol's company Talpa Media, Endemol France's president Stephane Courbit, chairman and chief executive of French fashion group LVMH, Italian companies Mediaset and De Agostini, as well as possible bids from US giants Disney, Sony and News Corp.

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