Univision bidding heats up

Televisa-led group, Saban both miss initial deadline

Initial offers from two bidding groups for Numero Uno U.S. Hispanic broadcaster Univision were expected to come in at $11 billion, according to media reports. Bids were due Tuesday, but both groups seem to have missed the deadline.

Televisa is said to have let the deadline lapse because of the last minute pull-out by investment partner The Carlyle Group. The Washington, D.C., private-equity firm allegely dropped out after an internal dispute over the bidding price and governance between all of the private equity firms and Televisa.

The group led by Mexican web Televisa was initially preparing a low-ball offer late Tuesday below the company’s current market price of $11 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported. Another group led by media mogul Haim Saban was preparing a similarly priced offer, the WSJ wrote. Offers could be pushed up during the auction.

Univision chairman A. Jerrold Perenchio had been asking for as high as $14 billion a year ago. But signs that the fastest growing U.S. network is quickly cooling and the current skittishness of debt markets as U.S. interest rates rise are sobering bids.

The 75-year old Perenchio could walk away, but it is considered unlikely.

Univision owners will also have to weigh options for FCC approval – both bidding groups have potential black marks.

Televisa is threatening to break its long-term programming supply agreement with Univision if any other bidder beats them out.

The Televisa-led consortium includes the Venezuelan media investor Gustavos Cisneros, Bill Gate’s Cascade Investment, Bain Capital, the Blackstone Group, and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

The rival bidding group is comprised of Texas Pacific Group Inc., Thomas H. Lee Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, Providence Equity Partners Inc. and media mogul Haim Saban.

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