Business

Univision, the biggest Spanish-language broadcaster in the US, is sold for $10 billion

Two investment firms bought a majority stake in the company, whose programming is provided in large part by Mexico's Televisa

Univision Los Angeles broadcast facilities and logo. Photo: Shutterstock
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  • Searchlight Capital and ForgeLight will acquired 64% of stocks and Grupo Televisa will the remaining 36% of the broadcaster;
  • Univision News reaches nearly 5 million adult viewers weekly; the firm’s main rival, Telemundo, is owned by NBCUniversal.

Two investment companies announced this Tuesday they are buying a majority stake in Univision, the biggest Spanish-language broadcaster in the United States. The deal opens a new era for the broadcasting firm at a time when traditional media entities are struggling to reach large audiences.

Searchlight Capital Partners and ForgeLight, the two buyers, will acquire a majority ownership interest in Univision from all stockholders other than Grupo Televisa, the Mexican media firm which provides a steady stream of programming to Univision. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. There had been an expectation that a sale price could reach around $10 billion, but the Wall Street Journal reported that the sum was somewhat smaller.

Televisa will retain its approximate 36 percent stake in Univision and their program license agreement will remain in effect. The agreement, which is one of Univision’s most strategic assets, provides the company exclusive access to the largest Spanish-language video library in the world.

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Under the terms of the acquisition, Searchlight and ForgeLight will purchase the remaining 64 percent ownership interest from the other stockholders of Univision. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approval, is expected to close later this year.

Streaming

The large broadcaster faces an era in which more consumers are interested in streaming-video services. NBCUniversal, which owns Univision’s main Spanish-language rival Telemundo, expects to launch the streaming hub Peacock, which will make use of Telemundo content.

Univision is one of the most recognized brands among U.S. Hispanics. On average, Univision News reaches nearly 5 million adult viewers weekly. In 2019, Univision aired 61 soccer matches — over half of all soccer matches viewed in the United States.

Televisa has been a key strategic partner to Univision for decades. This relationship provides Univision with the exclusive U.S. broadcast and digital rights (with limited exceptions) to all of Televisa’s programming including premium Spanish-language dramas, sports, sitcoms, reality series, entertainment talk programming and feature films. 

Wade Davis, founder of ForgeLight, will become CEO of Univision after the deal is completed.  Davis is a veteran in the media and technology industry, and was most recently CFO of Viacom.