SoftBank in Talks to Invest in Televisa-Univision Venture

SoftBank Group Corp. is in talks to invest in a new media company created through a combination of Grupo Televisa SAB and Univision Communications Inc.’s content assets, according to people familiar with the matter.

Televisa and Univision are discussing a deal to combine some content assets of the two Spanish-language broadcasters that could be valued at about $4 billion, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. While the exact assets that would be combined in the new entity couldn’t immediately be learned, a transaction will exclude both companies’ news divisions, the people said.

As part of the deal, which could be announced as soon as this month, SoftBank is mulling an investment into the new venture, the people said.

Televisa shares rose 1.3% to 37.63 pesos at 9:37 a.m. in Mexico City trading.

A final agreement hasn’t been reached, and the talks could still fall apart, the people said. Representatives for closely-held Univision and Televisa didn’t respond to requests for comment. A representative for SoftBank declined to comment.

Televisa and Univision are longtime partners. Televisa, Mexico’s top broadcaster, owns about 36% of Univision. Last year, Univision’s owners unloaded a majority stake in the company to Wade Davis, former chief financial officer of Viacom Inc., and Searchlight Capital.

A representative for Searchlight Capital couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

Televisa is controlled by Chairman Emilio Azcarraga Jean, the grandson of the broadcaster’s founder, through a trust that holds the majority of Mexican-owned voting shares. That gives him the power to elect 11 of the 20 members of Televisa’s board and veto any decisions on dividends and mergers.

Univision has its roots in a network of U.S. TV stations built up in the 1960s and 1970s by Azcarraga’s grandfather, Emilio Azcarraga Vidaurreta, who later had to sell the company to local owners under pressure from U.S. regulators. It is the largest provider of Spanish-language radio and television content in the U.S.

Programming Ties

The companies have maintained a long programming relationship and flirted numerous times with reuniting, though Televisa lost to another investor group in a 2006 bidding war. Disputes over royalties also threatened to mar their relationship until they patched things up in a 2010 deal.

Under that accord, Univision and Televisa agreed to share programming, and Televisa bought a 5% equity stake in Univision and debt that could be converted into an additional 30% holding. It paid about $1.2 billion.

In response to a Bloomberg News report, Televisa said last month that it was moving forward with talks about combining certain of its content assets with Univision.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.