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Liberty Global considers Univision

Liberty Global Ventures, the investment arm of Virgin Media-owner Liberty Global, is considering a bid for Spanish-language media firm Univision.

The company is reportedly working with Hemisphere Media Group on a bid, with other parties such as private equity firm Platinum Equity and former Viacom CFO Wade Davis also looking at making an offer. Offers for the media conglomerate are due in February.

Univision’s broadcast arm is is best known for its American Spanish-language free-to-air television network of the same name, along with a range of other channels that target the Hispanic market including the Robert Rodriguez-founded El Rey Network.

While Liberty Global is considering a bid, nothing is concrete right now claims one source cited by the report. They said that it is entirely possible that Liberty makes no play for Univision, with a spokesperson saying that “this is a small investment that Liberty Global Ventures is exploring.”

Acquiring Univision would be a costly deal for anyone looking to invest. As of September 30, the company has US$7.4 billion of debt and US$260 million of stockholder equity.

With this in mind, it is hardly surprising that Univision announced it was exploring a sale in the summer.

Univision spent over a decade in a state of financial difficulty following a 2007 leveraged buyout. It rejected a takeover from Discovery in 2017, which valued the company at over US$13 billion – its current market value is US$12.4 billion – and cancelled its 2018 IPO.

CEO Vince Sadusky, upon assuming the position in that year, refocused Univision’s core of Spanish-language media, sold off Gizmodo Media Group in 2019 and secured a series of distribution deals which reduced its debt level.