ITV is on the brink of buying Talpa Media, the Dutch production company behind the hit TV show The Voice, which airs in the UK on BBC 1, and will have its owner John De Mol on board for at least three years.
The UK television provider confirmed “exclusive discussions” were taking place in a statement to the Stock Exchange.
“ITV confirms that it is in exclusive discussions regarding an acquisition of Talpa. These discussions may or may not result in agreement of a transaction,” it said.
“ITV is continually assessing opportunities to grow and develop its business in line with its strategy, including the assessment of potential acquisitions.”
The reality TV show has performed extremely well in the UK, reflecting De Mol's track record of creating successful TV shows – he was also behind Big Brother, which first aired in the UK in 2000.
De Mol put Talpa up for sale last year, but has rejected other offers including a £320m bid by British production company Shine Group. The amount ITV is willing to pay for the company has not been disclosed, but sources say the sale could be worth as much as £500m. According to Broadcast, an agreement could be reached in a matter of weeks.
Under his exit plan, De Mol would be involved in the company for at least three years after the sale took place and it is thought that he might sign a non-compete contract to stop him from setting up a similar, rival business.