Friday, January 2, 2015

Univision Credit Rating Upgraded, Easing Path To IPO

Univision Communications is preparing for a public offering of its shares, which would enable owners of the Spanish-language media giant to begin their long-planned exit.

According to the L-A Times, Moody's Investors Service this week issued an upgrade in the rating outlook for Univision — helping clear the way for a public offering that is expected to occur next year, according to people close to the company who asked not to be identified discussing sensitive matters.

The New York company's ownership group — which includes Los Angeles billionaire Haim Saban, several private equity firms and the Mexican entertainment juggernaut Grupo Televisa — has not finalized plans for an IPO.

However, several of the owners have concluded that a public offering of stock representing less than 50% of the company would be the best route to recoup some of their investment, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

The owners have been weighing a public offering in mid- to late 2015 in an effort to capitalize on the strength of the stock market and Univision's improved balance sheet. They want to sell the stock in advance of the 2016 presidential election cycle, which is expected to produce a bounty of campaign cash for Univision as politicians turn to Spanish-language media in an effort to woo Latino voters.

The media giant, which owns the fifth-largest TV network in the U.S., has long been considered a jewel on Wall Street because of the growing influence of Latinos in the U.S.

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