Univision Communications has begun exploring strategic options, bringing on Morgan Stanley, Moelis & Co. and LionTree to assist in a potential sale, the company said Wednesday.
“After a successful year under the leadership of our new management team, including a complete refocus on our core Spanish-language media business, it is abundantly clear that Univision’s strategic value has never been greater,” the company said in a statement announcing plans to “explore strategic options.”
The announcement follows a period of turmoil and high-level turnover at the struggling media company, with Vince Sandusky replacing Randy Falco as CEO — who announced plans to retire more than a year ahead of the expiration of his contract — last year.
The company’s current backers are a group of private equity firms led by Haim Saban’s Saban Capital Group, which has long been expected to seek a sale as Univision continues to struggle to adapt to the changing media landscape.
Back in April, the company sold off the Gizmodo Media Group, which it acquired in 2016 under Falco’s leadership, to private equity firm Great Hill Partners. At the time, Sandusky called the sale an opportunity “to exit a business which does not enhance our core mission, and instead refocus on our strengths.”
“As the last major independent broadcast media company in the U.S., a market where scale and strength matter, Univision has the fundamentals for continued growth on its own or with a partner – and after careful consideration, the Board and management team have concluded the time is right to explore strategic options,” the Univision board’s statement continued, touting its position as a media company serving a primarily Spanish-speaking audience.
Added Sadusky, “Univision is strategically, operationally and financially strong, having refocused on serving our core consumers, as well as our advertising and distribution partners. Over the past year, Univision has gained momentum as it has divested non-core assets; strengthened programming; secured long-term distribution deals and valuable sports rights; increased investment in news, sports, local, and digital offerings; and materially strengthened its balance sheet. The current environment favors scale and cross-platform offerings, and we believe those major media companies that fail to recognize and capitalize on this unique opportunity in Spanish-language media will be left behind.”