Univision's board OKs $12.3 billion sale - East Valley Tribune: Business

Univision's board OKs $12.3 billion sale

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Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 7:01 am | Updated: 4:00 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

LOS ANGELES - Univision Communications Inc.'s board has agreed to sell the nation's largest Spanish-language broadcaster for $12.3 billion in cash to a consortium of investors, the parties involved in the sale announced early Tuesday.

The figure agreed upon late Monday equals $36.25 a share, according to a news release on the sale. That's a 13 percent premium to Univision's closing stock price on Monday. The group of investors will also assume about $1.4 billion in debt.

The consortium, led by private equity firms Texas Pacific Group Inc. and Thomas H. Lee Partners, also includes Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, Providence Equity Partners Inc., and media mogul Haim Saban.

"Univision is truly a one-of-a-kind property," the acquiring group said in a joint statement. "It is an outstanding media brand with exceptional positions in the fastest-growing markets in the country, world-class assets, strong management, popular programming and unmatched ratings."

The consortium initially bid $35.50 a share, or just under $11 billion total, last week. But the broadcaster, which had reportedly been seeking an offer of $40 a share, rejected the group's initial bid as too low.

The investor group's offer remained on the table until Friday, when it expired. Both sides talked over the weekend and came to terms, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.

Each of the private equity groups is expected to invest around $1 billion initially and Saban somewhat less, the person said.

The deal, if approved by Univision shareholders and regulators, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year or first quarter of 2007, according to the news release.

Univision dominates the U.S. Hispanic media market through its three television networks - Univision, TeleFutura and Galavision - more than two dozen television stations, a recorded music division, Internet portal and Spanish-language radio stations.

Monday's agreement ended a rocky auction for the broadcaster, which decided in February to explore selling the company.

A rival investor group led by Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa SA - which owns an 11 percent stake in Univision and is a key supplier of Univision's programming - struggled to put together a bid early last week amid defections by several of its investor partners.

First, private equity firm Carlyle Investment Management LLC dropped out, followed by Blackstone Management Associates V LLC, and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

On Friday, Televisa lost the investment arm of Venezuelan broadcaster Venevision, a unit of The Cisneros Group of Companies. Venevision owns a 14 percent stake in Univision and also supplies the U.S. network with programming.

Still, Televisa and its remaining partners, private equity firms Bain Capital Partners LLC and Cascade Investment LLC, which invests for billionaire Bill Gates, managed to submit an offer Friday that they claimed at the time exceeded the Texas Pacific Group's initial offer.

Univision shares fell 92 cents, or 2.79 percent, to close Monday at $32.03 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has traded in a 52-week range from $23.52 to $36.67.

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