Univision Communications’ fourth quarter profits slid sharply due to payments made to main programming supplier Televisa and the decline in the fair value of certain investments, mainly in Entravision Communications.

Company said it earned $27.4 million, or 8¢ a share, compared with $67.2 million, or 19¢ a share, in 2004.Net revenue rose 11% to $513.5 million, up from $461.3 million a year earlier.

Univision, which put itself on the auction block last month, expects to save in excess of $50 million this year as a result of cost cuts that include axing nearly 6% of its staff, mainly in its core TV business. Company anticipates an ad revenue windfall from its coverage of the soccer World Cup in Germany.

Nielsen started including Univision in its ratings last December and net has been trumpeting that it outdelivered the big four webs on 237 nights in 2005, especially among young auds 18-34.

Its adult primetime aud shot up 17% in 2005. Radio, music and Internet divisions have also grown at a healthy clip. Univision Radio delivered double-digit aud share growth in the Latino-dominant cities of Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, San Antonio and Puerto Rico in the fall.

Mexican media giant Grupo Televisa has asked an L.A. district court to end its 25-year programming deal with Univision and any buyer would have to broker a deal with Televisa. Pact expires in 2017.

While CBS has announced it has no interest in Univision, other media congloms have been coy.

Televisa is flush with $1.4 billion cash and may take a swipe at Univision with a non-media equity partner. Televisa owns around 11% of Univision, while the Cisneros family, owner of Venezuela’s Venevision, holds around 13%.  Foreign participation in U.S. broadcasters is limited to 25%.