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Univision upfront rises, stock slides

COO credited with raising co.'s profile resigns

MIAMI — Hispanic broadcaster Univision announced upfront ad sales for the 2000-01 season of $501 million, up 18% over a year ago.

But that figure didn’t meet some analysts’ expectations, and investors sent the stock tumbling more than 16% to $100 during Wednesday trading.

“It was surprising to see it fall as much as it did,” analyst Gordon Hodge of Thomas Weisel Partners told Daily Variety. “Univision, until today, probably has been the best-performing broadcast stock this year.”

Hodge added that the upfront results were in line with his estimates and, indeed, strong upon closer inspection. The Spanish-lingo net inked upfront contracts with 92 advertisers, up from 79 a year ago. It expanded in major categories like beverages, packaged goods and movies-entertainment, but it did acknowledge a dropoff in telco spending. On average, its cost-per-thousand was up 22%-24%.

On Monday, prexy and chief operating officer Henry Cisneros resigned to go into the real estate business. He was credited with raising the net’s profile in corporate America during his 3-1/2-year tenure and attracting major advertisers.

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