Univision Plans IPO for Largest Spanish-Language Network in U.S.

Univision Holdings Inc., the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S., is planning an initial public offering, returning to the markets eight years after being taken private.

The New York-based company filed with a $100 million placeholder, an amount used to calculate fees that may change. Part-owner Grupo Televisa SAB will hold voting enhanced power representing at least 22 percent of the common stock on matters other than for the election of directors, the filing shows.

Univision has been in the spotlight in the past week when it canceled the Miss USA telecast over Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants. The broadcaster has been gaining viewers in the U.S., drawing higher ratings than direct competitors such as NBC’s Telemundo and Ricardo Salinas’s Azteca America. During the Super Bowl broadcast in February, a Univision reality program was the most-watched show after the championship game itself, marking the third time in five years that a Spanish program placed second during the game.

“Most investors view Univision as a play on the growth of the U.S. Hispanic population,” said Paul Sweeney, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “Historically ad spending on Hispanic TV has grown faster than English language TV as marketers target the younger, increasingly affluent Latino consumer.”

The network will be publicly traded again after being taken private in a $12.3 billion leveraged buyout by a group of investors led by Saban Capital Group Inc. and including Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners Inc., TPG Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP. In 2010, Televisa, Mexico’s largest TV provider, bought a 5 percent equity stake and debt that could be converted into an additional 30 percent holding..

Revenue rose 11 percent to $2.91 billion last year, while net income dropped to $1.9 million from $216.2 million.

Last week, Univision canceled its broadcast of the Miss USA pageant after Trump labeled Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers. Several companies including NBC and Macy’s Inc. have since cut ties with Trump, who is joint organizer of Miss Universe organization. Trump subsequently filed a lawsuit against Univision, seeking $500 million.

The proceeds from the IPO will be be used to repay debt and account for other general expenses, Univision said. The prospectus didn’t reveal how many shares the company will sell or how much each share will cost. Those details will come in a later filing.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG are managing the offering.

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