Univision Earnings Slide

Numbers are broadly in line with estimates, though.
Author:
Publish date:

The nation's largest Spanish language broadcaster,

Univision Communications

(UVN)

, beat fourth-quarter targets Thursday, posting double-digit revenue growth.

The Los Angeles company, which owns TV and cable networks as well as more than 700 radio stations and a music business, made $27 million, or 8 cents a share, down from $67 million, or 19 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding certain costs, latest-quarter earnings were 25 cents a share, 2 cents ahead of the Thomson Financial analyst consensus estimate.

Revenue rose 11% from a year ago to $513.5 million, beating the $496 million Wall Street target.

The company, which has been capitalizing on ongoing ratings strength at its Spanish-language outlets, and has now joined the major broadcasters in the much ballyhooed Nielsen National Television Index. The company also confirmed in early February that it was looking at a sale and retained the banking services of UBS.

"Univision achieved record operating results in the fourth quarter and is in an unprecedented position to capitalize on its leading media assets," said Chairman Jerry Perenchio in a statement. "Our strong momentum and positive growth prospects, the scarcity value of our assets, favorable market conditions and increasing interest in Spanish-language media, led us to conclude that now was the right time to evaluate our options for maximizing shareholder value."

Humongous media companies ranging from

News Corp.

(NWS) - Get Report

and

CBS

(CBS) - Get Report

to

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

and

Time Warner

(TWX)

are expected to show interest in Univision. However, CBS chief Les Moonves noted recently that FCC media regulations would be restrictive, as his company is already up against ownership limits.

For the first quarter of 2006, the company said it expects to make 14 to 16 cents a share and that revenue should rise by mid-single digit percentages over the year before. Analysts were looking for 16 cents per share on $465 in revenue.

Thursday, shares closed down 25 cents to $33.59.