Market Overview

Univision Sells Majority Stake To Investing Group

Univision Sells Majority Stake To Investing Group

Two investment firms are buying a majority stake in Univision, the largest U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster, the company said Tuesday.

The firms, Searchlight Capital Partners and ForgeLight LLC, will buy a 64% stake in the broadcaster from current Univision owners. Grupo Televisa SAB ADR (NYSE: TV) will retain a 36% interest in the broadcaster.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, though The Wall Street Journal reported the deal could value Univision at close to $10 billion. Univision said in a press release the deal is expected to close later this year.

The investors selling their stake to Searchlight and ForgeLight are part of an ownership group that bought previously public Univision in a $13 billion leveraged buyout in 2007.

See Also: Subscriber Weakness Could Continue At DISH Network, Guggenheim Says

ForgeLight founder Wade Davis, former finance chief at Viacom before the merger that created ViacomCBS Inc (NASDAQ: VIAC), is leading the buyer group, and will become CEO of Univision once the deal closes, according to the Univision statement.

"The combination of Searchlight’s experience as a long-term investor in the media and communications sectors, Davis’ experience managing the growth and transformation of large-scale media enterprises, and Televisa’s continued support as a leading producer of Spanish-language content, creates the opportunity for Univision to enter a new era of growth and innovation," the company said.

Since becoming a privately held company, Univision has struggled to keep up with changes in the TV industry as viewers have increasingly cord cut. The threat of a loss of viewers faced by many traditional cable networks has been compounded for Univision because of a heavy debt load it has carried since going private.

Shares of Mexican-owned Grupo Televisa were down just under 5% on Tuesday, trading at $10.66.


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