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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2005, 00:06 GMT
Big Brother firm rises at debut
Celebrity Big Brother 3 winner Bez
The Big Brother format has been a hit in many countries
Shares in Endemol, the firm behind the Big Brother TV series, closed above their offer price after making their debut on the Dutch stock market.

The shares, sold to institutional investors for 9 euros each, hit a high of 9.59 euros, but ended the session at 9.33 euros on Tuesday.

Representing a 22.3% stake in Endemol, the shares were sold by its Spanish parent company Telefonica.

Some analysts had wondered if there had been limited interest in the float.

The experts raised their fears after the shares were sold at the lower end of a proposed range of between 8.8 and 12.8 euros.

The float values the Dutch company at about 1.1bn euros ($1.3bn; 752m).

Hit programmes

Telefonica paid 5.5bn euros for Endemol in an all-share deal in 2000.

In addition to Big Brother, Endemol is also behind the Ready Steady Cook and Fear Factor TV formats.

Telefonica has recently being selling non-core businesses in order to focus on its main telecoms interests.

While Endemol has its head office in the Netherlands, it also operates subsidiaries and joint-ventures in 22 countries around the world, employing 3,300 people in total.

But Endemol's French business is not to be part of the listed group.

Instead, it has been hived off into a separate firm following a disagreement with local managers over payouts.

Endemol posted earnings of 132.4m euros last year, excluding the French business.

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