Televisa seeks music partner

Univision chair, Sony may be eyeing Fonovisa

Televisa is in talks with a major music industry player over a joint venture involving its Fonovisa record company.

A senior Televisa executive confirmed talks over a partnership with at least one high-profile company were under way: “People will be surprised when the news breaks and they find out who the partner is. It is not someone you would expect. “What we are looking for is a joint venture to strengthen our sales. There are several possibilities. However, it has yet to be decided who it is going to be.”

Sony, EMI and Universal had been in talks to buy the label, but the latter two have backed out after reviewing the outfit’s financials and the label’s assets. Multimedia outfit Prisa was also interested in acquiring the label. Financier Jerry Perenchio has expressed interest in Fonovisa before and has held substantive talks with principals. Perenchio is chairman of Univision Communications, the nation’s top Spanish-lingo network.

Mexican TV giant Televisa is looking at ways of improving penetration of foreign markets for the Van Nuys-based Fonovisa, which already has 20% of the Latin-music sector in the U.S. The label is home to popular acts Conjuncto Primavera, Grupo Mojado and Los Tigres del Norte. It also has the final album under Enrique Iglesias’ contract with Fonovisa. He recently signed with Universal Music Group.

The label’s roster consists primarily of Mexican acts, Televisa thesps turned crooners and international Latin talent, selling more than 20 million singles and albums last year.