Friday, February 14, 2020

Report: Univision, Investment Group ThisClose To Deal

Univision Communications, the nation’s largest Spanish-language media company, is nearing a sale to an investment group led by former Viacom executive Wade Davis, according to The LA Times citing two people familiar with the matter.

Univision is in advanced negotiations to sell itself to the Davis group, which includes the private equity firm Searchlight Capital Partners, according to the sources, who were not authorized to comment.

A deal could happen as early as next week, but the two sides continue to hash out key provisions of the deal.

It was unclear Friday how much Davis and his bidding partners are offering for Miami-based Univision, which includes several television networks and radio and television stations.

The sellers, a consortium that includes Los Angeles billionaire Haim Saban, had been seeking about $10 billion, which is dramatically less than that group paid more than a decade ago when they bought Univision from the late Jerrold Perenchio and his Latin American partners.

Saban and four private equity firms in 2007 paid $13.7 billion for Univision, figuring the nation’s largest Spanish-language media company would be a sure bet.

But years of boardroom bickering and missteps, including a disastrous foray into English-language media, as well as rising competition from rival Telemundo and shifting demographics, including a dramatic slowdown in immigration from Mexico, have taken a toll, and the owners decided last year that they wanted out.

John Malone’s Liberty Global had been in the running for Univision, one of the informed persons said.

Davis, the former chief executive of Viacom, left the company last fall in advance of that company’s merger with CBS Corp.

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