Web plans second offer for Univision

MEXICO CITY — Mexican web Televisa and a consortium of equity investors are plotting a new bid for Univision after Televisa blundered its first attempt to take over the top U.S. Hispanic broadcaster.

The Televisa crew, which includes Bain Capital and Bill Gates’ Cascade Investments, has held a flurry of meetings and conference calls in recent weeks to discuss a second offer for the top U.S. Hispanic broadcaster that could reach $38 per share, or around $13 billion.

Televisa reps refused to comment.

Univision’s board in late July accepted an offer of $12.3 billion, or $36.25 per share, from a group led by media mogul Haim Saban. Shareholders will vote on that offer Sept. 27, leaving little time for Televisa to post a new bid. 

Univision shares closed up 1.58% to $35.40 while Televisa shares dropped 0.78% to close at $18.80.

Televisa holds 9% of Univision shares and has long coveted the possibility of owning a larger stake in the web originally founded by Televisa topper Emilio Azcarraga Jean’s grandfather. Televisa dominates the Mexican market and its best option for significant growth is Stateside expansion.

But it is uncertain if Televisa has lured any new partners into its mix. Three equity groups bailed on Televisa during the initial bidding process — Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

Mexican telcom mogul Carlos Slim, who is a major shareholder in Televisa and is a business partner with Azcarraga, is another potential partner.

Besides coughing up more cash for its bid, Televisa also would have to pay a $300 million breakup fee to Saban’s group, which also includes Providence Equity Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners, the Texas Pacific Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

Televisa has $1.7 billion in cash to fund a new offer, but some analysts say anything higher than the Saban group’s bid would be paying too much for Univision. Companies’ double-digit growth is expected to cool in coming years.

Televisa would be limited to a 25% stake in Univision due to FCC rules. Univision’s board cited fears over a potentially difficult regulatory approval process due to foreign ownership issues when it accepted the offer from Saban’s group. 

Televisa had put off its potential partners by demanding control over operations of Univision. Bad blood between Univision chief A. Jerrold Perenchio and Azcarraga Jean also undermined Televisa’s initial bid.

Televisa has said it wants to sell its shares in Univision if the Saban group takes over and the web says it will seek to break its long-term programming supply agreement with Univision under an existing lawsuit against the L.A.-based broadcaster.

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