After a drawn-out and often stormy courtship, Spanish-language media giant
( UVN) has chosen its mate.
But Univision's deal, in which four private-equity partners and media mogul Haim Saban will acquire Jerry Perenchio's broadcasting company for $12.3 billion, might not be the last word in the controversy.
One issue is the long-simmering lawsuit between Univision and shunned bidder
, the Mexican programmer. Univision and Televisa have a programming output deal that extends through 2017. Televisa charges that it has not been compensated properly by Univision for some programming, a dispute that has gone on for some time.
Televisa issued a statement Tuesday morning in which it said it is disappointed about the outcome of the auction.
"Notwithstanding our repeated offers to discuss all aspects of our proposal including price, Univision and its advisers refused to enter into any discussions with us after we submitted our initial bid," Televisa said. "Given this action by Univision's board, Televisa has a number of alternatives it is considering." Televisa said also that it will "vigorously pursue its options to build its potential in the growing U.S. Hispanic marketplace."
The programming lawsuit could give the new owners a migraine, especially if Televisa management is further embittered by the auction process. Televisa produces the lion's share of Univision's outside programming (the company produces about 50% of its material in-house). As such, Televisa is a major pipeline for Los Angeles-based Univision, and it will be interesting to see how the relationship evolves or devolves from here.
Shares of the Spanish-language broadcaster rose 7% Tuesday after the deal was announced.
Another potential hiccup is a link between a member of the investment group and Nielsen Media Research. Thomas H. Lee, one of the buyout firms allied with Saban, is a partner in Valcon, a consortium of equity interests that recently bought VNU, Nielsen's parent company. Nielsen determines TV ratings.
A network source said that the Univision situation is being watched for potential conflict-of-interest implications. Thomas H. Lee declined to comment.
Other than Thomas H. Lee, the buyout group includes private equity firms Madison Dearborn, Providence Equity and Texas Pacific. They will pay $36.25 a share for Univision, which is based in Los Angeles. The price represents decent upside in shares that fell from above $36 at the start of June to $32.03 Monday as Wall Street grew skeptical it could get a deal done.
Still, the takeover will occur at a price that is significantly below what Univision hoped to attract when it put itself up for sale back in February. At the time, Univision, which operates both television and radio stations, hoped to collect as much as $40 a share given its position as one of the only operators serving the booming Hispanic demographic in the U.S.
A separate investor group including Univision minority stake-holder Televisa offered $35.75 for Univision last week. The Televisa bid suffered several defections and reportedly was unable to get a higher bid off the ground in subsequent days.
On Tuesday, Univision shares rose $2.27 to $34.30.