Univision Hired Boston Consulting Group to Help Solve Business Woes

Univision Corporate - H - 2018

The television company has, over the last week, tapped a new CFO, cancelled a planned public offering and axed some high-level staffers.

It's been a whirlwind few months for Univision, which last week parted ways with CFO Francisco Lopez-Balboa, upped Peter Lori to take his place and publicly shelved an initial public offering, as The Hollywood Reporter first reported.

As part of a broader restructuring, at least 20 Univision employees have been axed, with several at Fusion Media Group among the casualties.

It turns out that the company has had some professional help in making these tough decisions. In December, Univision brought in management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group to help the company chart a path forward, THR has learned. 

"In order to constantly sharpen our competitive edge and best position us for the future, we regularly examine our business for ways we can enhance the value we bring to our audiences, clients and partners," a Univision spokesman said in a statement. "In continuing to transform our business, we chose to hire Boston Consulting Group in December 2017.”

A person familiar with the company's decision-making said that bringing in BCG is an inauspicious sign for employees. Staff were informed of the hire by departing CEO Randy Falco at a town hall meeting about a month ago. (The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Univision backers had "retained a consulting firm to undertake a review of Univision’s businesses," but did not specify which firm was hired.)

"There is no good that will come out of this," said the individual close to the company. "They do not pay consultants millions of dollars to do nothing or to add to the existing infrastructure."

Univision leadership has big decisions to make about whether to right-size the business, to spin off and sell individual units (like the Fusion Media Group) or to sell the entire company. One analyst told THR last week that the company "remains a potentially attractive target for more than a handful of potential acquirers in the media industry."

An employee of Univision's Gizmodo Media Group, which is part of Fusion Media Group, said there's little clarity about how the executive reshuffling will affect the other units of the company. "Who the hell knows, down the line?" the employee said.

Media companies often bring in consultants to help inform tough decisions about allocating resources. Magazine publisher Condé Nast brought in FTI Consulting back in 2015, and one-time competitor Time Inc. hired a a McKinsey partner — "supported by over 25 other McKinsey employees" — to oversee the company's "transition," which ended in Time Inc.'s sale to Meredith Corp.