DORAL, FLA. — The wait is over for investors and Hispanic market observers who have been asking about Univision Communications‘ Initial Public Offering plan, and when the company targeting Hispanic and millennial consumers will come to fruition.
After a series of delays, there will be no IPO.
In a brief statement released after the Closing Bell on Wall Street Tuesday (3/6), Univision announced that “due to prevailing market conditions,” it has requested the withdrawal of its Form S-1 on file with the SEC for a proposed initial public offering of its Class A common stock.
The Registration Statement has not been declared effective by the SEC, and no securities have been or will be sold pursuant to the Registration Statement.
The announcement came concurrent to the naming of Peter H. Lori as Univision’s CFO, rising from the role of EVP/Finance, Chief Accounting Officer and Deputy CFO for the company. Lori succeeds Frank J. López-Balboa, who officially has decided to depart Univision to pursue opportunities.
Given the timing of the aborted IPO, it is believed that López-Balboa was asked to tender his resignation.
Univision President/CEO Randy Falco called Lori “a critical member of our senior finance team for the last 13 years” who has the right combination of skills to drive financial growth at Univision.
“He has been instrumental in helping us to reduce our debt and improve our capital structure, and we are confident our finance organization will continue to thrive under his leadership,” he said.
Falco thanked López-Balboa “for his tremendous contributions to Univision since joining in 2015, during which he led a strong and capable finance and accounting organization in addition to managing our relationships with many of our external stakeholders. Given that our path to pursue a public offering has changed, this is an opportunity for Frank to begin the next chapter of his career. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
López-Balboa joined Univision when talk of an IPO was fervent. Many in the Hispanic media world predicted a fall 2015 offering. That didn’t happen, but chatter reemerged that Univision’s ever-moving IPO was slated to happen in fall 2016, after the U.S. presidential elections.
By late September 2016, the IPO was predicted by the New York Post to happen after the inauguration day in January 2017.
Then came the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President; no IPO came in 2017.
Univision was backed by Saban Media Group, Providence Equity, TPG and Thomas H. Lee Partners.
What’s Univision’s next move? Look to México, D.F.
The FCC on January 3 gave Univision Communications and Mexican media goliath Grupo Televisa a huge New Year’s gift by agreeing that the public interest would be served by permitting foreign ownership of Univision beyond the federally mandated limit of 25%.
With the vote, foreign investors are now permitted to own up to 49% of Univision’s equity and 49% of its voting interests — including up to 40% of its equity and voting interest to be held by Televisa and its affiliates.
Univision suffered a bruising third quarter: Total revenue for Q3 dipped 8.3%, from $801.5 million to $734.8 million.
The Q3 revenue results came following a surprise market exit for Univision Radio. In November, Univision announced that it is selling KAMA-AM 750, KQBU-AM 920 & KBNA-FM 97.5 “Qué Buena” to 97.5 Holdings LLC — a U.S. subsidiary of Mexico radio giantGrupo Radio Centro — for $2 million.
One week later, between 200 and 250 people were let go as part of a restructuring tied to the company’s poor Q3 earnings performance.