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Univision Gets Bid From Second Team of Private-Equity Firms

May 16, 2006  •  Post A Comment

A second group of private-equity firms is joining forces to possibly make a bid on Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications, according to Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal.

Citing people familiar with the discussions, the newspaper said the second bidding team includes Texas Pacific Group, Thomas H. Lee Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners and Providence Equity Partners. The group will present itself to the Univision board as being able to close on a transaction more quickly because it doesn’t face the same foreign ownership hurdles that a rival group of bidders does, according to the Journal.

Last week, an investor group that includes Mexican Broadcaster Grupo Televisa and an investment company controlled by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates confirmed that it is considering a bid for Univision. The move had been widely expected, given Televisa already owns an 11 percent stake in Univision and is a major supplier of television shows to the network. However, Televisa under current federal rules, can own only up to 25 percent of a U.S. broadcaster. As such, Televisa has been maneuvering for assurances from its private-equity partners that, should the rules change, Televisa could buy out the other partners.

A Texas Pacific spokesman refused to comment. Representatives from the other private-equity firms were not available for comment.

When Univision announced earlier this year that it was putting itself up for sale, its stock soared in anticipation of multiple bids for a company seen as being at the center of the explosive growth of the Hispanic television market. Analysts expect Univision to fetch as much as $12 billion.