WSJ: Univision for sale


Univision Communications, Inc.The owners of Univision Communications Inc., in their search for an exit, have held preliminary discussions in recent weeks with several media companies, including CBS and Time Warner Inc., according to a Wall Street Journal story:

“Univision is controlled by a consortium of investors including billionaire Haim Saban. The owners are seeking north of $20 billion for the company, according to people familiar with the matter. The group bought Univision for $13.7 billion, including debt, in early 2007.

The broadcaster’s owners had been expected to take the company public in a stock offering in 2015, paving the way for them to exit, though those plans aren’t set yet. The owners had also looked to Mexican media conglomerate Grupo Televisa SA, which owns a minority stake of Univision and supplies much of its programming, as a possible buyer. But Televisa’s ability to acquire Univision rests on changes in regulatory rules capping foreign ownership in broadcasters at 25%. While the FCC voted to allow exemption to that cap on a case-by-case basis last fall, a person familiar with the situation said the regulatory climate for a Televisa acquisition remains uncertain. It is also unclear whether Televisa is interested in buying the company.

Propelled by the country’s rapidly growing Hispanic population, Univision’s flagship network was the only one of the top five networks to increase its prime time viewership in the 2012-13 season in the coveted 18-49 demographic.

Since the start of the 2013-14 season, things have been less rosy, with Univision network’s ratings in the 18-49 demographic down 23%, according to Nielsen. A person familiar with the situation said the ratings drop was due to two underperforming shows.”

See the full Wall Street Journal story here.

RBR-TVBR observation: Univision Radio has been hurting as well, with Q2 ad sales feeling the pinch across Hispanic Radio in general. The division laid off some 100-150 staffers, especially across programming and local content generation. The company would be a great target, however, for a larger media company like CBS Corp. or Time Warner Inc., which could expand their offerings to the Hispanic media consumer and realize operational efficiencies in many markets. ‘Tis the season for mega media consolidation, and Univision is seeing how big a wave it can ride as well.