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Televisa eyes Univision

Mexican media giant circles Spanish-lingo broadcaster

MEXICO CITY — After months of playing it coy, Mexican media giant Televisa has emerged as an aggressive bidder for Univision Communications, the giant Spanish-lingo broadcaster put up for sale early this year.

Televisa said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing Thursday that its board had authorized owner Emilio Azcarraga Jean and exec VP Alfonso de Angotia to try to bolster its 11.4% stake in Univision.

As private equity firms circle Univision, Televisa has previously said only that it’s exploring its options and isn’t allied with bidders or groups.

But it seems Televisa wants the whole pie — aiming to own 100% of A. Jerold Perenchio’s Univision, which is expected to fetch at least $12 billion.

FCC regs limit Televisa — and any other foreign company — to a 25% stake in a U.S. broadcaster.

Televisa will be on the spot to clarify its position in a conference call today when execs will also discuss the company’s financials, released Thursday.

Televisa’s shares ended the day down 37¢ to $21 while Univision stock rose 19¢ to $35.03.

For the first three months of the year, Televisa’s profit doubled to $116 million on revenues up 13% to $672 million.