After a select group of potential investors took a pass last month on the opportunity to buy Univision, the Spanish-language TV network appears to be headed to auction, according to The New York Post.
The publication cites sources saying the network gathered would-be buyers in July in the hope of attracting a price tag north of $10 billion.
“But after sifting through more than 100 pages of confidential financial information, the group of media companies and buyout firms appears to have taken a pass, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation,” The Post reports. “Now, Univision is in ‘the very early stages’ of a formal auction process with a ‘strict timetable’ that’s being run by Morgan Stanley, Moelis & Co. and LionTree, an insider said. The banks, however, haven’t set a bidding deadline, sources said.”
The Post adds: “In the coming weeks, prospective bidders will face a tough question: As Univision tries to wean itself from tear-jerking soap operas and game shows hosted by women in tight dresses, can it remake itself into a millennial-focused powerhouse that can compete with online rivals like Netflix?”
Most observers agree that cable tycoon John Malone won’t be matching a $12 billion takeover offer he made two years ago, The Post reports, adding that Univision “will be lucky to get the $10 billion it’s asking for.”
“Indeed, many observers reckon that the network, if it sells, is more likely to fetch a modest premium to its $7.5 billion debt load, which itself is a healthy multiple of the company’s estimated $1 billion in yearly cash flow,” The Post adds.