John Malone's Liberty Global Eyeing Bid for Univision

Courtesy of Univision Communications
Univision CEO Vincent Sadusky

The international cable operator is understood to be working with Hemisphere Media Group on an offer for the Spanish-language media giant led by CEO Vince Sadusky.

John Malone's international cable operator Liberty Global is among possible bidders for Univision Communications, the Spanish-language media giant that put itself up for sale in 2019.

"This is a small investment that Liberty Global Ventures is exploring," a Liberty Global representative told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.

Liberty Global Ventures, Liberty Global's investment arm, is understood to be partnering with Hemisphere Media Group on a bid for the Spanish-language media player.

A representative for Hemisphere, which runs U.S. Hispanic channels and two Latin American pay TV networks, told THR the company did not comment on market speculation or rumors.

Univision also declined to comment on potential suitors for the company. But a source close to the sales process told THR that a strategic review of Univision that was initiated in the summer remained "active" and that a number of interested parties had come forward.

Final bids for Univision, which is being shopped by Morgan Stanley, Moelis & Co. and LionTree as financial advisors, are due in February.

Univision in 2017 turned down an offer of up to $15 billion from Malone, who has companies like Discovery Communications, Sirius XM Radio and other media assets in his investment orbit. 

Univision has been privately owned for more than a decade and investors, like Saban Capital Group, Madison Dearborn Partners and Providence Equity Partners, have been seeking at least a partial exit that formerly might have come via an initial public offering.

At the end of 2018, CEO Randy Falco retired early and was replaced by Sadusky. Univision has since refocused its business on core Spanish-language platforms after shedding non-core assets like the Gizmodo Media Group as part of a strategic realignment.

Sadusky last November told analysts when offering an update on the company's strategic review that Univision would benefit in terms of scale and leverage from tying up with "a larger media player," while adding "we are full-steam ahead as a stand-alone and are really confident with our business plan."

Liberty Global's Latin American arm, which was spun off from the parent company and trades as Liberty Latin America, with operations in Chile, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, is thought to be eyeing how to leverage Univision's Spanish-language content.

A long-anticipated Univision deal could also help Malone's various companies accelerate and deepen their initiatives to get a bigger piece of the U.S. market of an estimated 60 million people who speak Spanish or are bilingual.