Friday, July 5, 2019

For Sale: Univision

Univision Communications Inc. is exploring strategic options including a possible sale, a process that could culminate in a long-sought deal for the Spanish-language broadcaster’s private-equity owners.

The Wall Street Journal reports Univision has hired Morgan Stanley and LionTree as advisers to assist with the process. The Wall Street Journal had reported earlier Wednesday that the broadcaster was exploring strategic options.

There can be no assurances as to the timing or outcome of the review, Univision said in a statement.

Univision is hoping the company could attract interest from large media companies looking to add Spanish-language programming to their assets, people familiar with the matter said. In 2017, Univision turned down an offer from cable tycoon John Malone that valued the company at between $13.5 billion to $15 billion.

Univision is grappling with debt, the consequence of a $13.7 billion leveraged buyout in 2006 when the company was taken private. The company said it finished 2018 with $7.4 billion in debt but reduced its total debt by $547 million last year.

After a period of turbulence in Univision’s upper ranks, the company made a number of changes. It brought in media industry veteran Vincent Sadusky as chief executive last year to succeed Randy Falco.

This spring, it agreed to sell off its Gizmodo Media Group unit—which included English-language sites like Jezebel, Deadspin and Lifehacker—to private-equity firm Great Hill Partners.

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