Sunday, January 22, 2006

Another European informal investor

In 2000 Telefonica paid for the Dutch entertainment company Endemol no less than 5,5, billion euro. It was the end of a race during the internet hype. All kind of acquisition candidates had knocked at the door of Endemol. All kind of consortium deals were talked about. The revolving door of the Endemol company did stand still; the telecom company KPN, the internet provider World Online, the television facilities company NOB, they all were part of various proposals. In search for convergence, Telefonica wanted to have Endemol so badly that it paid the enormous sum of 5,5 billion euro (presently the company is valued at 2,5 billion euro).

The owners John de Mol and Joop van de Ende saw billions of euro roll in, but could not do anything with it, as they were bound by a competition clause in the agreement. Although John de Mol worked for Endemol within Telefonica for two years, he eventually was allowed to step out as Telefonica put Spanish officials in charge of Endemol. In 2005 John de Mol launched his own television channel Talpa. Joop van de Ende went into theatre productions. He became a succesful musical and stage producer on Broadway and in Europe. But as the competition clause was terminated, Joop van de Ende starts investing into other sectors.

He is now partner in the holding Van de Ende & Deitmers Venture Capital Partners, which is setting up two investment companies. One company, Crossmedia Fund, will invest 150 million euro into media companies. The other company Crossborder Fund, will invest in successful Dutch companies setting up abroad.

The criteria are clear. The investment company will pour money, starting with an initial capital of 100 million, in non-quoted, Western European companies with a value of 75 million euro. They need growth potency, proven business models, an existing clientele with fixed revenues and an excellent management team. The Crossmedia Fund will invest in the mediasector, technology and telecom. However its needs a close connection with cross media productions. Joop van de Ende is not interested in starting a new television channel as John de Mol did. One of the candidate companies is the Amsterdam based company Eyeworks, a cross media production company founded by Reinout Oerlemans, a soapy of Endemol. In 5 years the company wants to have invested in 15 to 25 companies.

The Crossborder Fund, which will start with 50 million euro, will invest in companies which have proven themselves on the Dutch market and want to expand abroad. The sector is not important, but innovative entrepreneurs are wanted: people with a vision and inspiration.

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