Tongues are wagging across TV land, and the latest rumors to involve big television industry players have catapulted Univision Communications and Discovery Communications into the headlines.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Univision “has been fielding interest from potential bidders after the media company’s initial public offering was delayed.”
The business newspaper of record cited “people familiar with the matter.”
One big suitor? John Malone, owner of Liberty Media Corp., the key shareholder in Sirius XM. He’s reportedly held meetings with Univision brass in regard to acquiring a significant stake in the privately owned company, which has been unsuccessful in launching an IPO.
According to WSJ, Malone’s camp and Univision were far apart on valuation.
A decade ago, Univision went private thanks to an investment by Saban Capital Group, Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG and Thomas H. Lee Partners. It was an ill-fated deal, and Univision finds itself millions of dollars in debt.
The other big rumor involves Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks Interactive, not to be confused with radio and broadcast TV owner The E.W. Scripps Co.
According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Meg James, there’s renewed merger talk happening between Discovery and SNI. This would bring such pay-TV networks as Animal Planet and HGTV under the same umbrella.
Just before the closing bell on Wall Street Wednesday, neither company acknowledged the discussions. That didn’t stop a surge in activity for Discovery’s shares, which rose 4.2%, to $27.16, on exceptionally high volume of 11.4 million.