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Univision to mine Gems

Galavision owner taking over Spanish-lingo TV

MIAMI — Spanish-lingo giant Univision will gobble up another piece of the Latin TV pie on Monday, when it is expected to announce the purchase of Gems Television.

Univision is one of several suitors that have been courting the Spanish-language channel over the past six months. Rivals Hearst Entertainment and the Cisneros Television Group dropped out of the running earlier this year.

Gems is co-owned by Cox Communications in Atlanta and Empresas 1-BC of Venezuela. Its programming caters to female viewers and it has about 13 million subscribers in the U.S. and Latin America. The purchase would mean a near monopoly for Univision, which already owns Spanish channel Galavision, which is a supplier of sports and other programming geared toward young Latin viewers and has about 15 million U.S. subscribers.

It’s too early to say how the deal will affect the 6-year-old Gems. Gems president Gary McBride, feeling shut out of major markets by cablers, began pursuing contracts with low-power stations in Bakersfield, Calif., San Francisco and San Antonio earlier this year to boost penetration. The net’s worth is estimated at about $130 million.