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Spanish TV giant, Univision might be up for sale

Update: It been confirmed that Spanish-language TV giant, Univision Communications Inc., has decided to explore a possible sale of the company.

February 8, 2006 -- The biggest U.S. broadcaster of Spanish Television, Univision (Stock ticker: UVN), might be up for sale and it is causing quite a stir in the media industry. Directors at Univision, whose market value is nearly $10 billion, are expected to meet about the proposal Wednesday and has retained investment bank UBS to run the auction if it is approved.

The sale could be valued in excess of $12b and several media giants are rumored to be potential suitors. CBS, News Corporation (FOX), and Mexico's Televisa, which would have to bid in conjunction with private equity groups because of restrictions on the foreign ownership of media assets.

The company's board, including its 75-year old chief executive Jerrold Perenchio, was imminently expected to meet to approve the plan, according to people familiar with the matter. Univision was acquired in 1992 by Perenchio.

Univision, which owns three television networks (Univision, Telefutura & Galavision), 69 radio stations and several well-known Internet entities.

The company's shares were up in morning trading as investors rushed to take advantage of the prospect of a sale.

The company has also benefited as advertisers invest more of their budgets into attracting Hispanic consumers with campaigns in Spanish.

New York-based Nielsen estimates there are 11.2 million U.S. householders that watch Hispanic TV. The Hispanic population is expected to jump 68 percent to 72.1 million, or 20 percent of U.S. residents, by 2025, according to researcher Global Insight.


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