In a paramount moment for the giant Spanish-language network Univision, global private investment firms Searchlight Capital Partners and ForgeLight announce the complete acquisition of majority ownership in the nation’s leading Hispanic content broadcaster.
A deal first announced in February, Searchlight and ForgeLight has now acquired 64 percent in Univision from an investor group including Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group. Mexico’s Grupo Televisa has retained its 36 percent stake in Univision’s fully diluted equity capital, and will continue to provide provide content and serve as a strategic partner.
“I am honored to be partnering with Searchlight and Televisa to begin this exciting new era for Univision,” said Wade Davis, founder of ForgeLight and former Viacom CFO. “Televisa’s strategic insight and global content leadership, coupled with Searchlight’s tremendous experience as a long-term media investor, will help us fully realize Univision’s potential as the leading Hispanic content company in the United States. Univision’s recognized and trusted brand, its consistent performance, and its leadership serving an important and growing consumer audience give us an unmatched opportunity to achieve even greater success.”
Davis will serve as Univision’s CEO under the new ownership and will work to refocus and empower the network’s deep roots in the U.S. Hispanic community while building a robust platform to support prospect innovation. “This is a pivotal moment in Univision’s rich history, as the company plays an increasingly important role in educating audiences about key issues relevant to the Hispanic community and encouraging and elevating the dialogue on social justice and equality, while also continuing to provide entertainment when viewers need it most,” added Davis.
“We are delighted to complete this transaction and look forward to partnering with Televisa, Wade and the leadership team to realize our ambitions,” said Eric Zinterhofer, Founding Partner of Searchlight Capital. “We are confident that Univision’s strong content and leadership in serving the dynamic U.S. Hispanic community positions the company for continued success.”
Bernardo Gomez and Alfonso de Angoitia, Co-Chief Executive Officers of Televisa, stated, “We are excited to be part of this new phase of Univision. Wade’s leadership and Searchlight’s support are the catalysts that Univision needs to solidify its position as the leading Spanish-language media organization in the United States in light of the rapid changes that the industry is facing. We are looking forward to an even closer collaboration with Univision to help it implement the many transformational initiatives that Wade has set out to achieve. We would also like to thank Haim Saban for his leadership and dedication to Univision all these years.”
Univision was the only U.S. television network to appreciably grow viewership in the most recent quarter, along with being ranked as the number one primetime television network amongst adults ages 18-34, regardless of language. UniMás, Univision’s second broadcast network, was the fastest-growing broadcaster in all of television during the third quarter, and Univision’s digital assets continue to achieve double-digit year-over-year video growth.