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Univision CEO Randy Falco. Photo: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pool via Bloomberg

Univision CEO Randy Falco will retire at the end of the year, according to a statement from Univision's Board of Directors Wednesday evening. The news comes after Univision announced it would be scrapping plans to go public, citing "prevailing market conditions."

Why it matters: Rumors swirled shortly after the announcement that Falco's retirement was linked to failed attempts to take the company public, forcing the Board to put out a statement dispelling such rumors and saying they "reluctantly agreed" to Randy's wishes to retire and that they "could not be more pleased with his performance."

  • “There are multiple rumors out there and on behalf of the Univision Board I would like to set the record straight about our CEO Randy Falco," said Haim Saban, Chairman of the Board Directors for Univision Communications Inc. "Let me be clear we at the Board of Univision have reluctantly agreed to Randy’s wishes out of respect and the high regard we have for him as a partner."
  • The board has asked Falco to work with them this year in "restructuring the company and consult with the board on  a transition to new leadership," per Saban.

Changes at the company are already underway. The company has already begun searching for a new CEO and is going through a business review that could lead to large cost cuts, according to the Wall Street Journal. Falco has been CEO of the company for the past eight years.

  • Univision originally filed for its IPO in 2015, but the process has been stalled for some time. Sources tell Axios to expect it to eventually seek a buyer, with one private shareholder saying 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.

The news comes at a time of great change for the Spanish-language broadcaster.

  • Earlier Wednesday, Univision also announced that Peter Lori will replace Frank Lopez-Balboa as chief financial officer.
  • While broad market conditions seem okay, traditional broadcasters have struggled to retain viewers. 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.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.