John de Mol in talks with Ed Sharples for Talpa Asia

John de Mol’s Talpa is preparing to launch an Asian division and is in talks with ex-Endemol Asia boss Ed Sharples who is the leading contender to run the new unit, TBIvision has learnt.

Talpa has expanded rapidly in Europe and the US in recent months setting up joint ventures in numerous countries, most recently Germany. The company is set to announce more deals in Europe and is now working on setting up shop in Asia.

It is looking at setting up an Asia division that would give it a foothold in the region before establishing joint ventures or offices in the most important territories.

“We’re looking at Asia, but it’s very difficult to do from Amsterdam,” a Talpa spokesman said. “We can see the importance of having a foothold in the region. We are already selling our formats in Asia and because of the numbers these markets are very interesting.”

John de Mol has already recruited several of his ex-Endemol colleagues with the Talpa JVs and Ed Sharples would be another in that mould.

Sharples launched and subsequently ran Endemol’s south east Asian business from 2004 before leaving in 2009 when the company restructured its Asian business and moved its regional headquarters from Thailand to Hong Kong. He has also been general manager of the Channel [V] music channel and MTV.