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Univision Owners Exploring Possible Sale of the Company


Univision
Univision

Univision's private-equity owners -- who acquired the Spanish-language broadcaster in 2007 for $13.7 billion -- are exploring a possible sale, reports the Wall Street Journal. After an erosion of the broadcaster's ratings, Univision is still saddled with billions in debt, a consequence of the 2007 leveraged buyout. The broadcaster said it finished 2018 with $7.4 billion in debt, but reduced its total debt by $547 million last year.

In 2016, Univision agreed to purchase websites owned by Gawker Media Group, including Deadspin, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and Jalopnik, Jezebel, in a bankruptcy auction for $135 million. WSJ says that followed another deal that year to acquire a stake in Onion Inc., the company behind satire sites including its namesake, The Onion.

Even though Univision owns some 58 radio outlets and 65 television stations, Rich Greenfield, an analyst for BTIG Research & Strategy, told WSJ that Univision might face difficulty finding a buyer in a media sector now dominated by conglomerates.

"After a successful year under the leadership of our new management team, including a complete refocus on our core Spanish-language media business, it is abundantly clear that Univision's strategic value has never been greater," the board said in a statement on Wednesday, as it announced the review of strategic options. "The U.S. Hispanic audience represents one of the very few certain growth opportunities in today's media marketplace, and Univision is ideally positioned."

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