A powerful consortium including Mexican media giant Grupo Televisa, Venevision of Venezuela, Haim Saban and buyout firms Providence Equity and Madison Dearborn Partners have teamed up to make a run at Univision.
The nation’s largest Spanish-language broadcaster was formally put up for sale last month by its controlling shareholder and chairman A. Jerrold Perenchio, 75. Televisa, which provides Univision with crucial programming under a long-term contract, was widely expected to bid. But caps on foreign broadcast ownership would limit its stake to 25%, which means it would need partners in any deal.
Televisa has also sued Univision for breach of contract.
Univision has been a darling of the U.S. media world as the Hispanic audience in the U.S. grows faster than that of traditional broadcasters. A number of media congloms have eyed Univision over the years. But companies like News Corp. and CBS Corp. can’t own any more TV stations than they already have without breaching federal regs.
Walt Disney and Time Warner could potentially do a deal, but Disney is in the process of a $7.4 billion acquisition of Pixar and Time Warner is buying Adelphia Communications.
That’s why many on Wall Street saw the field clear for a group of private equity firms, which have snapping up media assets for several years.
Providence is part of one consortium that owns MGM, and another that owns Warner Music. Madison Dearborn owns large theater chain Cinemark.
Other firms including Blackstone Group, Quadrangle Group and KKR are also said to be pursing a possible bid.
Univision is said to want at least $40 a share, which would bring in a pricetag of $13 billion. Univision shares are trading at $33.