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Grupo Televisa SAB will sell its content and media assets to Univision Holdings Inc. in a deal valued at US$4.8 billion, deepening ties between the two giants of Spanish-language TV.
Televisa, Mexico’s top broadcaster, will remain the largest shareholder in the new Televisa-Univision, with an equity stake of about 45 per cent, according to a statement Tuesday. Under the terms of the agreement, Televisa will receive US$3 billion in cash and US$1.5 billion in Univision equity.
Teaming up with Televisa will help bolster Univision’s push into streaming. Though Univision is the largest provider of Spanish-language TV and radio content in the U.S., it hasn’t become as big a force online. Less than 10 per cent of the Spanish-speaking population currently uses a streaming service, compared with 70 per cent in the English-speaking market.
“Televisa-Univision can more aggressively pursue innovation and growth through digital platforms as the industry continues to evolve,” Televisa Chairman Emilio Azcarraga said in the statement.
The deal will be financed through US$1 billion of Series C preferred equity investment led by SoftBank Latin American Fund -- with participation by Alphabet Inc.’s Google and the Raine Group -- plus US$2.1 billion of debt commitments arranged by JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Bloomberg first reported in March that Televisa and Univision were considering a deal, and it said last week that SoftBank Group Corp. was in talks to join the transaction.
The transaction is expected to be completed this year, if it gets regulatory approval in the U.S. and Mexico. The boards of both companies have already signed off on the deal.
Univision Chief Executive Officer Wade Davis will lead the combined company, while Televisa’s Alfonso de Angoitia will become executive chairman of its board. SoftBank’s Marcelo Claure will be vice chairman of the board.
The new entity will be a colossus of Spanish-language programming, drawing on the more than 86,000 hours of content that Televisa produces a year. The business will get four free-to-air channels from Televisa, as well as 27 pay-TV networks and stations; the Videocine movie studio; the Blim video-on-demand service; and the Televisa trademark.
Univision, meanwhile, already has its namesake broadcast network in the U.S., plus the UniMás channel, nine Spanish-language cable networks, 61 TV stations and 58 radio stations. It also recently introduced a streaming service called PrendeTV.
Televisa and Univision have a long history together. They forged a truce in 2010 after years of acrimony, striking a deal to share programming. At the time, Televisa bought a 5 per cent equity stake and debt that could be converted into an additional 30 per cent holding. It paid about US$1.2 billion.
Since then, both companies have struggled to keep up with the streaming revolution. U.S. media giants such as Netflix Inc., Walt Disney Co. and Amazon.com Inc. have built online-video empires, and they’re increasing making content in non-English tongues, including Spanish.
But Televisa remains a dominant force in Spanish-language broadcasting. It exports its programming not only to the U.S. but to much of Latin America and even Russia and China.
“Televisa-Univision will emerge as the leading global Spanish-language multimedia company, uniquely positioned to capture the significant market opportunity for Spanish speakers worldwide,” Davis said.
Televisa will keep its telecom and cable operations through its Izzi and Sky businesses, as well as the main real estate where productions are carried out, broadcasting licenses and transmission infrastructure in Mexico.
News content production for Mexico will be outsourced via a company owned by Televisa’s owners, according to the statement.
Televisa will use the proceeds from the deal to pay down debt and looks to push its debt-leverage ratio down below 2.0 times. After the transaction, Televisa will no longer consolidate financials of its content segment.