Apr 13, 2021 - Economy

Mexican media giant Televisa to merge content business with Univision

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Grupo Televisa S.A.B ("Televisa"), one of the largest media companies in Latin America, on Tuesday agreed to merge its content assets with Univision Communications, the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S.

Why it matters: The deal will create one of the biggest Spanish-language media companies in the world, and will help deliver more Spanish-language streaming content opportunities.

  • The U.S. is the largest Spanish-language media market by value globally and Mexico is the most populous Spanish-language market in the world, the companies noted in a joint press release.

What's in it for Univision: The scale will help the company compete against NBCUniversal's Telemundo, which has gained ground in the Spanish-language content wars in the U.S. in recent years.

What's in it for Televisa: Shedding its content assets will allow the company to focus on growing its telecom market while strengthening its balance sheet.

Details: The newly combined company, called "Televisa-Univision," will include the media, content and production assets from Televisa and all of Univision's assets.

  • Televisa's assets include its four over-the-air broadcast channels, its 27 pay-TV networks channels and stations, its "Videocine" movie studio and "Blim" TV subscription streaming service, and the Televisa trademark.
  • Univision's assets include its two broadcast networks — Univision and UniMás — its nine Spanish-language cable networks, its 61 TV stations, its 58 radio stations and its recently launched ad-supported streaming service, PrendeTV.
  • Univision CEO Wade Davis will lead the combined company. Televisa co-CEO Alfonso de Angoitia will serve as executive chair of the Televisa-Univision board of directors. Marcelo Claure, CEO of SoftBank International, will become vice chair of the board.

By the numbers: To help finance the deal, the newly combined company will receive a $1 billion investment led by the SoftBank Latin America Fund with participation from Google, The Raine Group and ForgeLight, an investment company started by Davis, who was formerly the CFO of Viacom.

  • Televisa says its content assets will be valued at roughly $4.8 billion. The media giant will receive $3 billion in cash for its investments from Univision, and about $1.5 billion in Univision equity. Univision will take on around $2.1 billion in debt to finance the deal.

Catch up quick: The deal ends a long cycle of uncertainty for Univision, which has struggled to land on its feet after a rocky private equity takeover led to a drawn-out IPO attempt that ultimately failed.

  • Univision sold the majority of its company to a group of investors led by Davis last year, after struggling to find a strategic buyer following the IPO saga.
  • Televisa retained its ~36% stake in Univision as a part of that deal. The two companies have partnered on content for decades.

What to watch: Streaming innovation in Spanish-language programming has lagged, in part due to the lack of scale among any one Spanish-language media company.

  • The two companies said the Spanish-language market "is significantly underserved from a streaming perspective relative to other major markets," noting that less than than 10% of the Spanish-speaking population currently use an digital video product, compared with the nearly 70% of the population in the English-speaking market, per a statement announcing the deal.
Go deeper