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Univision cancels IPO plans, sale process likely

Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos
Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos. Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images.

Univision has scrapped its IPO plans, citing "prevailing market conditions." The group also announced that Peter Lori will replace Frank Lopez-Balboa as chief financial officer.

Bottom line: The Spanish-language broadcaster originally filed for its IPO in 2015, but the process has been stalled for some time. Expect it to eventually seek a buyer, with one private shareholder telling Axios that "there are bankers climbing all over them."

Our thought bubble: Univision will face a challenge trying to find a buyer that's willing to pay more than the $13 billion-plus Discovery reportedly offered last year.

Why now? Broad market conditions seem okay, although traditional broadcasters have struggled to retain viewers. Moreover, Bloomberg notes that Univision may lose eyeballs later this year to Comcast-owned Telemundo, when the latter airs the World Cup.

Despite secular pressure, Univision has continued to perform well in prime-time, finishing 2017 as the top Spanish-language network in prime-time for the 25th consecutive year across a key advertising demo of 18-49. It also has maintained a robust digital audience.