Univision sees big fourth quarter

Co. reports net income of $99.7 million

Univision Communications more than tripled its net income in the fourth quarter, helped by higher profits from its television unit and cost-cutting on the eve of the Spanish-language broadcaster’s sale to a private equity consortium.

In the quarter ended Dec. 31, Univision reported net income of $99.7 million — more than triple the $27.4 million in net income of a year earlier. Revenue increased 6.5% to $546.9 million. The company cut nearly $30 million from its operating expenses during the fourth quarter.

For the full year, net income increased 86% to $349.2 million, up from $187.2 million a year earlier.

Univision is set to be acquired by a private equity consortium comprising media mogul Haim Saban, Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Madison Dearborn Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners; deal is expected to close in mid-March.

The acquiring group has initiated a search for a CEO to replace A. Jerrold Perenchio.

Univision’s television unit recorded revenue of $399.4 million, up 8%, helped by popular shows like “La Fea Mas Bella,” which is third in adults 18-34 at 8 p.m.

The quarter marks the first full year Univision has been the No. 5 U.S. network in any language, according to Nielsen Media Research. In the fourth quarter it averaged 1.9 million adults 18-49, compared to the CW’s 1.7 million.