Univision, the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S., has agreed to one of the largest private equity bids in the media sector, after a consortium led by Haim Saban raised its offer to $11.3 billion.
The consortium, fronted by the media investor behind the Power Rangers cartoons, secured the Univision board's backing late on Monday for a bid of $36.25 per share, compared with its original $35.50 offer. It will also assume $1.4 billion of debt.
Univision's owner and chairman, Jerrold Perenchio, had indicated he was looking for offers of at least $40. The board voted late Monday to accept the Saban team's bid.
(The $11.3 billion figure comes from the Los Angeles Times. Other news organizations, including the Associated Press and the Financial Times, put the figure at $12.3 billion.)
The bid is backed by Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners. Coupled with Saban Capital Group's existing stake in ProSiebenSat.1, the German satellite broadcaster, it will make Mr. Saban the largest transatlantic investor in free-to-air television.
Televisa was not out of the running, however. The Televisa team had submitted a bid of $35.75 per share, which it believed was the highest offer at the time. Televisa is a Mexican media group that owns 11 per cent of Univision and supplies much of the programming to Univision, under a contract that runs until 2017.
The Saban offer also requires shareholder approval and faces the hurdle of a regulatory review before the Federal Communications Commission, suggesting the deal could be completed in four or five months.
Buying Univision will allow the investors to share in the rapid growth of Spanish-language broadcasting in the U.S., where the group commands an 80 per cent share of the Hispanic television audience.
The group operates three television networks - Univision, TeleFutura and Galavision - Univision Radio, recorded music and music publishing businesses and an internet portal targeted at Hispanic populations in the U.S., Mexico and Latin America.
Univision recorded revenues of $1.95 billion last year, and earnings before interest and tax of $458 million.
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