M&A

Univision Planning Possible $1 Billion IPO

The Spanish-language broadcaster could be valued at up to $20 billion, reports say.
Matthew HellerJuly 3, 2015

Apparently thwarted in its efforts to find a buyer, powerhouse Spanish-language broadcaster Univision has announced plans for an initial public offering.

In a prospectus filed Thursday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company described itself as “the leading media company serving Hispanic America,” a demographic that now makes up more than 17% of the country’s population. Univision’s assets include its namesake channel, Galavisión, and the sports network Univision Deportes.

“The IPO is a landmark moment for Univision, calling attention to its unique grip on the Hispanic media marketplace,” CNN said.

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The offering could take place in the fourth quarter and, according to Reuters, could raise more than $1 billion and value Univision at as much as $20 billion, including debt.

Univison is currently owned a consortium that includes billionaire Haim Saban and the private equity firms Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, and THL Partners. They paid $13.7 billion for the network in 2007, at the height of the leveraged buyout boom.

But The New York Times said those investors “are unlikely to celebrate too loudly” when Univision finally begins trading on the public stock markets.

“The company has taken on the dubious distinction of being a private equity investment that has been tough to exit,” it noted, citing discussions about a sale last year with “a host of potential suitors, including CBS, Viacom and Time Warner.”

Another potential bidder has been Grupo Televisa, the Latin American media producer that supplies much of Univision’s content and already owns a roughly 5% stake. Federal broadcasting regulations prohibit a foreign company from owning more than 25% of a broadcaster, though exceptions can be made.

According to the IPO prospectus, Univision reported $2.9 billion in sales last year, up 11% from 2013. But net income tumbled to $900,000 from $216 million, largely due to a non-cash accounting charge tied to a write-down of programming assets.

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