Univision a private matter

Deal done; new CEO looks ahead

The largest Spanish-language media company in the U.S. is officially in private-equity hands, with its new CEO on Thursday promising continued growth and signaling an openness to improving a strained relationship with Mexican programming partner Grupo Televisa.

Univision Communications Inc. said Thursday that its acquisition by investor group Broadcasting Media Partners Inc. was complete, just two days after the FCC gave its green light for the deal, which was unveiled in late June.

The investor group includes Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group.

The Nielsen Co., parent company of The Hollywood Reporter, also is owned by a private-equity consortium, which includes Thomas H. Lee Partners.

"Univision's programming quality and audience loyalty are second to none, creating unmatched opportunities for advertisers to successfully reach the U.S. Hispanic community," said Joe Uva, who is set to officially start his new job as Univision CEO in the coming days.

He added that he and his team would focus on building "on the company's leadership position while continuing to be Hispanic America's first choice for information and entertainment."

Taking a conciliatory stance toward Mexican broadcaster Televisa — which recently confirmed that it was selling its stake in Univision in the buyout and remains in a legal battle with the company over programming arrangements — Uva said, "I look forward to working with Univision's senior management team, employees, Televisa and other programming and industry partners, as well as the entire BMP team."

A Univision spokeswoman wouldn't say whether meetings between Uva and Televisa representatives are scheduled. Televisa didn't comment Thursday.

Univision shares stopped trading before the market opened Thursday after finishing what turned out to be their last day of trading Wednesday up 2 cents at $36.23. Shareholders received $36.25 for every share in cash under the buyout.

The private-equity consortium called Univision "a terrific company with a unique position in the U.S. media landscape." The group added that it is its goal to "take full advantage of the enormous opportunities the company will have in the years ahead" while "maintaining Univision's unique connection with and commitment to serving the needs of the burgeoning U.S. Hispanic community."

Univision operates the biggest Spanish-language network in the U.S. and the fifth-largest network overall.

Jerrold Perenchio, former controlling shareholder, chairman and CEO, said Thursday that he is "enormously proud of all that Univision has accomplished since 1992" and is looking forward "to following the next phase of its growth, which will undoubtedly be characterized by continued success under the leadership of its new owners."

He will have no roles or titles at Univision in the future.