Investment firms Searchlight Capital Partners, ForgeLight, founded by former Viacom CFO Wade Davis, with Mexico’s Grupo Televisa announced Tuesday they’ve completed the acquisition of giant Spanish-language broadcaster Univision.
Davis will be CEO. “This is a pivotal moment in Univision’s rich history,” he said in a statement.
In a deal announced in February, Searchlight and ForgeLight acquired 64% of Univision from an investor group including Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group. Televisa, Univision’s major programmer, will retain its 36%, continue to provide content and serve as a strategic partner to the new owners.
“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,” said Televisa co-CEOs, Bernardo Gomez and Alfonso de Angoitia.
Univision’s new leadership team plans to use the company’s extensive platform and strong pipeline of entertainment, sports and news content to deepen its relationship with the Hispanic community, “building upon its established leadership in Spanish-language media,” it said.
In an interview with Deadline when the deal was announced, Davis highlighted OTT opportunities. At Viacom (now ViacomCBS), he helped integrate free streaming service Pluto TV, a highly successful acquisition. “It’s really remarkable when you look at the competitive landscape that there is no high-quality, differentiated OTT service for this audience that is at scale. … It’s a huge opportunity that is completely open from a competitive standpoint.”
Univision’s media assets include the Univision and UniMás broadcast networks, and cable networks Galavisión and Spanish-language sports net TUDN. The company owns or operates 61 television stations and 58 radio stations, has a live event series and a robust digital audio footprint along with its Univision.com website and streaming service Univision Now.
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