Univision to Explore Sale

Courtesy of Univision Communications
Univision Communications CEO Vincent Sadusky

The company has been privately owned for more than a decade and investors have been seeking at least a partial exit that formerly might have come via an initial public offering.

Claiming that the U.S. Hispanic audience "represents one of the very few certain growth opportunities in today's media," Univision Communications on Wednesday acknowledged it will entertain offers from potential buyers.

The Spanish-language broadcaster said it has engaged Morgan Stanley, Moelis & Co. and LionTree as financial advisors as its board of directors reviews "strategic options for the company."

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.

Univision ditched its IPO efforts on a few occasions and 16 months ago it replaced its CFO. At the end of 2018, CEO Randy Falco retired early and was replaced by Vince Sadusky.

Univision was hoping an IPO might have valued the company at $20 billion, and it had in 2017 turned down an offer of up to $15 billion from John Malone, who controls Lionsgate, Starz, Sirius XM Radio and other media assets.

While Univision under Falco had been acquiring English-language assets like the Onion, Lifehacker, Deadspin and Jezebel, under Sadusky, Univision has shed those subsidiaries.

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news of Univision's interest in selling, notes that its owners purchased the firm for $13.7 billion in 2006 and the company had $7.4 billion in debt on its books at the end of 2018.

"Univision is strategically, operationally and financially strong, having refocused on serving our core consumers, as well as our advertising and distribution partners," Sadusky said Wednesday.

In its announcement on Wednesday, Univision boasted that the "coveted U.S. Hispanic demographic" where it dominates is expected to grow from 57 million to 77 million by 2030.

"The current environment favors scale and cross-platform offerings, and we believe those major media companies that fail to recognize and capitalize on this unique opportunity in Spanish-language media will be left behind," Sadusky said.