Univision to merge certain media assets with Televisa

The deal is valued at over $4 billion.
The logo of television broadcaster Univision. (Logo courtesy Univision Communications, Graphic by The Desk)

Univision Communications and Mexico’s Grupo Televisa announced a deal on Tuesday that will see the combination of certain content and other media assets.

The combination will lead to the formation of a new company, called Televisa-Univision, that will oversee one of the biggest Spanish language media operations in the United States.

Univision will pay $3 billion in cash and another $1.5 billion in common and preferred equity as part of the transaction, which will see Televisa’s content assets falling under Univision’s control and ownership.

Televisa will acquire a 45 percent stake in Univision and continue to own its Mexico-based telecommunications products, including production companies and broadcast television licenses for stations that operate there.

An additional $1 billion will be injected into the company by the SoftBank Latin America Fund, a consortium of investment firms that count SoftBank and Google among its participants.

The combined company will consist of Univision’s main broadcast networks — Univision and Unimas — along with nearly a dozen cable networks, five dozen television stations, another five dozen radio stations and a handful of digital media platforms. Televisa’s content operations will contribute to the joint venture.

The combination of Univision and Televisa was not unexpected: Last month, financial news outlet Bloomberg reported the two were holding preliminary discussions to sort out exactly what a joining of forces would look like.

Bloomberg said the deal could still fall through, but it seemed almost inevitable given the changing content landscape in the United States and elsewhere as consumers gravitate toward fractured streaming services and traditional media companies like Univision and Televisa struggle to keep up.

The deal comes more than a year after a former ViacomCBS executive led a financial investment group to purchase a majority stake in Univision. That executive, Wade Davis, will serve as the chief executive of the joint venture.

“This transformative combination brings together the leading network serving U.S. Spanish-language audiences with the leading media platform in Mexico powered by the most powerful Spanish-language content engine in the world,” Davis said in a statement on Tuesday. “Televisa-Univision will emerge as the leading global Spanish-language multi-media company, uniquely positioned to capture the significant market opportunity for Spanish speakers worldwide.”

Some of those plans have already come to fruition: Two weeks ago, Univision announced it was launching an ad-supported streaming service called PrendeTV. The service offers linear channels of Spanish-language content combined with an on-demand library that Univision executives called one of the biggest in the country.

PrendeTV offers content from both Univision and Televisa, and that content library is expected to grow significantly thanks to the joint venture announced on Tuesday.

Thanks for reading and supporting The Desk. If you have a question, comment or news tip, send a message by email or text, or connect on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Also, check out our new membership service The Desk: Pro Access for exclusive reporting, news scoops and in-depth analysis.