Televisa May Look for New U.S. Spanish-Language TV Ventures

Univision's Sale of U.S. Network to Investment Group Angers Mexican Media Company

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Continuing a long history of acrimonious relations, Univision Communications and Grupo Televisa are sniping at each other over the sale of Univision and the future of Grupo Televisa as a Univision program supplier and possibly soon-to-be ex-shareholder.
In its SEC filing, Televisa asserted that if it shares in Univision falls below a certain level it will no longer consider itself bound by the long-term programming deal that provides Univision with Televisa's top-rated telenovelas and other shows.
In its SEC filing, Televisa asserted that if it shares in Univision falls below a certain level it will no longer consider itself bound by the long-term programming deal that provides Univision with Televisa's top-rated telenovelas and other shows.

Univision, the biggest Spanish-language U.S. media group, announced last week that the company had accepted an offer worth approximately $13.7 billion from a group of five private equity investment firms.

Angry that bid was accepted
Mexican media group Televisa was the other bidder and is said to still be angry at Univision's acceptance of the rival bid, because Televisa expected negotiations to continue. This week, Televisa, in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, said it wrote to the new owners to say that Televisa will not roll over its 11% stake in Univision.

The company said in the letter: "Televisa is prepared to discuss with you a sale of its shares of Univision as soon as possible based on the present value of the price per share set forth in the merger agreement."

Televisa has also warned that it may pursue its own strategy for the U.S. Hispanic market, although Univision has been quick to remind everyone that Televisa is locked into a long-term programming deal that provides Univision with Televisa's top-rated telenovelas and other shows. Televisa asserted in its SEC filing that if Televisa's shareholding in Univision falls below a certain level -- 13,578,084 shares of class T common stock -- Televisa will no longer consider itself to be bound by an earlier agreement under which Televisa would offer Univision the opportunity to take a 50% stake in other U.S. Spanish-language TV ventures.

Univision's response
Univision shot back today: "Televisa's filing yesterday has no bearing on the program license agreement between Univision and Televisa, which gives Univision exclusive rights through 2017 to broadcast in the U.S. and Puerto Rico all Spanish-language programming produced by and for Televisa. The termination of the participation agreement referenced in Televisa's filing will have no impact on Univision's business or on the pending merger agreement with the investor group."
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