UNIVISION COMMUNICATIONS INC. may put itself on the block after announcing that its board is “reviewing strategic options for the company.”
The move, announced just before the long holiday weekend, comes after a refocusing of the network on Spanish-language programming in the wake of an attempt to diversify to reach younger, English-speaking audiences with THE ONION and a portfolio of former GAWKER-related websites like DEADSPIN, GIZMODO, and JEZEBEL; the websites were sold in APRIL to GREAT HILL PARTNERS.
In a statement, the UNIVISION Board of Directors said, “After a successful year under the leadership of our new management team, including a complete refocus on our core Spanish-language media business, it is abundantly clear that UNIVISION’s strategic value has never been greater. The U.S. Hispanic audience represents one of the very few certain growth opportunities in today’s media marketplace, and UNIVISION is ideally positioned. We have the top-rated local news programming in any language in many top markets, we frequently beat the ‘Big Four’ broadcast competition in prime time, and we have a best-in-class sports franchise. This leadership position, along with the increasing recognition that the Hispanic population is driving significant U.S. economic growth, makes UNIVISION a unique media property. The demographic and economic drivers of Hispanic consumers will spur growth in media consumption and spending for years to come, and we want UNIVISION to be in the best position to capitalize on this historic opportunity. As the last major independent broadcast media company in the U.S., a market where scale and strength matter, UNIVISION has the fundamentals for continued growth on its own or with a partner — and after careful consideration, the Board and management team have concluded the time is right to explore strategic options.”
CEO VINCE SADUSKY added, “UNIVISION is strategically, operationally and financially strong, having refocused on serving our core consumers, as well as our advertising and distribution partners. Over the past year, UNIVISION has gained momentum as it has divested non-core assets; strengthened programming; secured long-term distribution deals and valuable sports rights; increased investment in news, sports, local, and digital offerings; and materially strengthened its balance sheet. The current environment favors scale and cross-platform offerings, and we believe those major media companies that fail to recognize and capitalize on this unique opportunity in Spanish-language media will be left behind.”