Univision’s earnings up

World Cup kicks up 3Q profits

Univision Communications, which in September greenlit a $12.3 billion buyout by private investors led by Haim Saban, said Thursday that third-quarter net revenues rose 7.8% to $536 million year on year.

A strong Hispanic ad market and bonus revenues from its exclusive coverage of summer’s World Cup soccer tournament boosted results at the country’s top Spanish-language broadcaster.

Soccer contributed an estimated $24.7 million extra revenue to the quarter, ended Sept. 30.

Revenue at Univision’s TV business grew 14.8% to $394.2 million while operating income was up 23.3% to $159.6 million.

Univision TV beat ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox on four out of every five nights among adults 18-34 in primetime.

Its telenovela “La fea mas bella,” from Mexican content supplier Televisa, continues to lead in its overall ratings. Some of its local stations rank No. 1 in any language in primetime.

Among its other media properties, Univision Radio posted solid growth of 6.5% to $103 million while net revenues in its music business nearly halved to $29.5 million compared to last year due to a one-off payment.

Univision recently settled a suit with Disa Records by buying the 50% of the Mexico-based record firm that it didn’t own.  Univision bought its initial stake in 2001 with a provision to purchase the rest in five years. When it failed to so, Disa filed a breach of contract suit. With the purchase, Univision Music Group accounts for more than 40% of the Latin music market in the U.S.

Univision Online continues to report strong growth, remaining the No. 1 Spanish-language Web site since the first industry study of online Hispanics in 2001.

Univision agreed in June to a buyout by a consortium made up of Saban plus private equity firms Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners. They edged out a bid from Univision’s programming partner and shareholder, Televisa.

Company said the acquisition was on track to be completed in the first quarter. With the deal pending, Univision said it would not provide earnings forecasts or conduct a conference call to discuss the results.

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