Univision Takes Next Step Toward IPO

Randy Falco - H - 2015
Associated Press

Investors are hoping the company is worth at least $20 billion.

Univision's initial public offering appears back on track after a reported delay brought about by adverse market conditions for entertainment stocks.

On Wednesday, the Spanish-language media company filed another preliminary prospectus indicating its shares will eventually trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol, "UVN."

No date or offering price have been set yet, but investors in the company are hoping the company is worth at least $20 billion.

Univision, led by CEO Randy Falco, has been privately held since a $12 billion buyout in 2007 led by Thomas H. Lee Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners, TPG Capital and Saban Capital Group, the latter of which is controlled by billionaire media mogul Haim Saban.

The company's flagship product, Univision Network, has been the most-watched Spanish-language network since 1992, according to Wednesday's filing.

The company generated $2.9 billion in revenue in 2014, up from $2.6 billion the year prior, and operating income in 2014 was $1.2 billion, up from $1.1 billion.

In the first nine months of 2015, Univision recorded a net loss of $16.6 million on revenue of $2.12 billion.

The company's prospectus boasts that there are 57 million Hispanics living in the U.S. and its media assets reach 49 million of them each month.

"The number of U.S. HIspanics who speak Spanish in the home is projected to increase from 37 million in 2014 to 55 million in 2034," Univision says in its filing.

Ratings declines for its channels, shifting needs among advertising and other typical "risk factors" are cited by the company in its prospectus, as is "the impact of federal and state immigration legislation."

Among the lead underwriters for the IPO are Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank Securities.

At one time, Univision's offering was expected to be among the year's biggest, but the IPO has been delayed presumably until next year due to a brief meltdown of stocks related to the TV industry. The August downturn was set off by Walt Disney and Viacom and others that alerted investors that their cable channels were weaker than anticipated.

Univision might also have pushed the IPO because it was preoccupied with a $500 million lawsuit filed by GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who sued the company for backing out of a deal to broadcast the Miss USA pageant that he controls. That dust-up was part of the fallout from Trump's claim that some immigrants from Mexico are "rapists."

About $8.5 billion is expected to be spent on broadcast TV for advertising during the presidential election and another $1.5 billion for cable ads, according to Borrell Associates. Since observers think Univision could capture $100 million of that, it behooves the company to sell its IPO during such a windfall, at least from a marketing perspective.

"We believe we are well-positioned to grow our audience and the reach of our brands by strengthening the bond with our audience and expanding across platforms, languages and brands," Univision says in its filing.

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com