Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, says the billionaire’s Liberty Global, Liberty’s investment arm —with the help of Hemisphere Media Group—is considering a bid for Spanish-language broadcaster Univision.
There are other potential suitors in the mix, however. Bloomberg says private equity firm Platinum Equity has also expressed interest, in addition to Viacom CFO Wade Davis, who is said to be backed by institutional investors. Final offers are due next month.
Liberty Global has said little about the matter. “This is a small investment that Liberty Global Ventures is exploring,” Matt Beake, a spokesman for the international cable operator, said in a statement. Malone is frequently on the prowl for M&A opportunities, recently kicking the tires on an increased stake in iHeartMedia.
Bloomberg’s sources say no final decision has been made—and it’s possible that none of the interested parties will make an offer.
Miami-based Hemisphere Media, a Spanish-language media company that targets Hispanic TV and cable networks, owns five U.S. Hispanic cable networks, two Latin American cable networks and a TV network in Puerto Rico. It also has ownership interests in other media properties in the U.S. and abroad.
Univision’s owners, in addition to CEO Vincent Sadusky, have made no secret of their desire to sell. The company had $7.4 billion in debt as of late September.
Univision was purchased by billionaire Haim Saban’s Saban Capital Group and a consortium of private-equity firms in 2007 for $13.7 billion. It was the king of Spanish broadcasting at the time, but the outlook has changed dramatically since the purchase. It has struggled in an increasingly competitive marketplace, and it has lost ground to rival Telemundo, which is owned by Comcast’s NBCUniversal.
Univision in 2017 rejected a takeover offer from Discovery Communications, another media property in Malone’s ecosystem. Univision also nixed an IPO in 2018.