TV Production Giant Fremantle Mulling Investment in Israel

Move being facilitated by Dutch-Jewish businesswoman Nina Storms, who is also reportedly eyeing an investment in Channel 2 franchisee Reshet.

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'American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez, February 2014. The show is produced by FremantleMediaCredit: Reuters

FremantleMedia, the London-based production company whose formats include “American Idol,” “The X Factor” and “America’s Got Talent,” is considering an investment in the Israeli market. Officials from the company, which is owned by the German television network RTL, are due to visit Israel shortly.

Fremantle’s contacts in Israel are being facilitated by Nina Storms, a Dutch-Jewish businesswoman who is herself considering an investment in Israeli television – in Reshet, the Channel 2 franchisee. At the same time that the major Dutch entertainment company Endemol was in negotiations to buy a 33% stake in Reshet – which it recently did for 100 million shekels ($28.9 million) – Storms was in discussions about buying her own 16% piece of the franchise. It is not clear if her efforts will come to fruition, but with the help of Israeli producer Haim Slutzky, she is also considering entering the local production field.

Storms is in a joint programming content venture with Fremantle, and it is her intention to bring her partner to Israel, a move in which Slutzky would also be a partner. Slutzky’s businesses include a major production company, Slutzky Communication Channels.

If Storms joins Fremantle in its Israeli foray, any interest that she might acquire in Reshet would be problematic, because Fremantle is a direct competitor to Endemol, which is now Reshet’s one-third owner. Reshet also has a cooperation agreement with another competitor in the production field, ITV.

Storms, who also resides part of the time in Monaco and Canada, is the daughter of Holocaust survivors. She made her fortune from Internet companies during the dot-com bubble. Her husband, Pieter, is a journalist and former television presenter. The Swiss press has reported her fortune at 240 million euros (about $329 million).

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