"The owners of Univision Communications Inc., in their search for an exit, have held preliminary discussions in recent weeks with several media companies, including CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc., according to people familiar with the matter," reports The Wall Street Journal. [Note: The WSJ is behind a pay wall and may charge you to read this story.]
The story notes: "Univision is controlled by a consortium of investors including billionaire Haim Saban. The owners are seeking north of $20 billion for the company, according to people familiar with the matter. The group bought Univision for $13.7 billion, including debt, in early 2007. Mr. Saban didn't return a call seeking comment."
According to a follow-up story in The New York Times, Univision has also spoken to Viacom. Both Viacom and CBS are controlled by Sumner Redstone.
The Times adds: "Another potential buyer is Grupo Televisa, the Latin American media company that supplies much of the network’s programming and already owns a 5 percent stake. Current regulations cap foreign companies from owning more than 25 percent of a broadcaster, though the Federal Communications Commission can allow for exemptions."
The Times also reports: "The investment firms that own Univision are still weighing whether — and when — to sell the company, with an initial public offering next year being one possibility."
One reason Univision's present owners may now be exploring a sale is Comcast's plan to buy Time Warner Cable (which is no longer part of Time Warner Inc.).
Writes The WSJ: "Univision Communications CEO Randy Falco has been among the most outspoken raising concerns about the implications of the Comcast-TWC deal. In an April earnings call, he noted Comcast, whose NBCUniversal owns rival Spanish broadcaster Telemundo, is the only major pay-TV operator that doesn't distribute Univision's sports network, which is airing 24/7 World Cup programming including the games.
Falco is quoted in the report saying: "Either Comcast doesn't understand that soccer is a passion point for Hispanics or they don't support competitors who have competing services."
The WSJ adds: "Mr. Falco also noted that combined with Time Warner Cable, Comcast would become the 'top TV distributor in 19 out of the top 20 Hispanic markets,' which he said gives the cable operator 'staggering influence over Hispanic consumers.'"