Univision Has New Majority Ownership, Former Viacom Exec Wade Davis To Be CEO

Two investment firms, Searchlight Capital Partners and ForgeLight, have secured a majority stake in Univision -- with Wade Davis, a former Viacom chief financial officer, assuming the chief executive officer role of the Spanish-language media company.

Davis is the chief executive officer and founder of ForgeLight. He takes over the top role from Vincent Sadusky, who took over the firm after Randy Falco retired at the end of 2018.

Searchlight and ForgeLight bought a collective 64% ownership in Univision from an investor group including Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group.

Those partners bought Univision in 2007 for $12.7 billion in a leveraged buyout. It remained a privately owned company.

Mexico-based Group Televisa has retained its 36% stake. No other financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

Univision had been considering an initial public stock offering for some time, then dropped plans in March of this year.

In the third quarter of this year, Univision's revenue declined 8% to $627.6 million (from $681.4 million). Income from continuing operations was cut by 60% to $30.9 million (from $77.4 million).

Univision's media networks' advertising revenue sank 11% to $287.6 million (compared to $322.4 million) in the period.

This included a boost in political advertising from the Presidential election. Core advertising -- sans political and advocacy advertising revenues -- was down 18% to $260.4 million (from $318.1 million).

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