Univision Shares Rise on Rumors of Buyers’ Interest

Mar 10, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Shares in Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications were up more than 3 percent Friday amid speculation that a group of private-equity firms were teaming with Mexican media company Grupo Televisa to make a bid for Univision.

Univision shares climbed $1.09, to $34.01 a share at midday, as several wire services reported that Televisa was teaming with Providence Equity Partners, the Cisneros family of Venezuela and billionaire Haim Saban to make a play for the No. 1 Hispanic Broadcaster.

There are also reports that other private-equity players, including the Blackstone Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Quadrangle Group are mulling a bid as well. And large media companies such as News Corp. and Time Warner have likewise indicated they would consider making an offer for the company, which has been valued at around $10 billion.

A Univision spokeswoman declined to comment. A spokesman for Providence Equity was not immediately available.

Ever since earlier this year when Univision announced plans to put itself up for sale, many analysts have speculated that Televisa would make a play for the company, even though both companies are locked in a legal battle over royalty payments.

Televisa is an important content supplier to Univision, particularly in the telenovelas area, and currently owns an 11 percent stake in Univision.

The Cisneros family, which owns media properties in Venezuela, is also a Univision shareholder, with a 13 percent stake.

However, restrictions on foreign ownership of television stations means Televisa needs to find a U.S. partner in order to pull off a deal. The maximum stake a foreign company can own in U.S. television stations is 25 percent, though the rules can be relaxed if in the public interest.