Televisa and Univision to create TelevisaUnivision in US$4.8bn merger

Wade Davis

Mexico-based media giant Televisa has completed its $4.8bn merger with US-based Univision, creating a company that aims to “deliver the most comprehensive Spanish-language content offering” in the world.

The deal, which first emerged last year, will see Televisa’s media, content and production assets combined with Univision, the US Hispanic network in which it already holds a 36% stake.

Content & channels

The enlarged firm will be known as TelevisaUnivision and will produce content for its own platforms, as well as third parties.

The deal brings together Televisa’s four broadcast channels, 27 pay-TV channels, the Videocine movie studio, the Blim TV SVOD service, and the Televisa trademark, with Univision’s assets in the US, which include the Univision and UniMás broadcast networks, nine Spanish-language cable networks, 59 television stations and 57 radio stations.

It also includes the PrendeTV AVOD platform, which was launched last year and will likely form the basis of a new streaming service with Blim TV. The new streamer is to launch in 2022, initially in Mexico and the US, before rolling out across the rest of Latin America and then into Europe.

It will bring TelevisaUnivision up against some heavyweight competition, with Netflix, ViacomCBS, Telefonica, Disney, WarnerMedia, and NBCUniversal all investing heavily in Spanish-language content.

Televisa’s content investment in 2020 was $920m, while Univision spent a further $850m over 2020, suggesting a combined content budget pool of around $2bn once synergy benefits from the merger are taken into account.

The pact also means TelevisaUnivision owns what is thought to be the largest library of Spanish-language content and IP in the world, with around 300,000 hours.

The firm said the deal means TelevisaUnivision now reaches over 100 million Spanish speakers every day across the US and Mexico.

Ownership & exec line-up

Televisa will remain the largest shareholder in TelevisaUnivision with a stake of approximately 45%. As a part of the agreement, the Mexico-based firm will retain ownership of Izzi Telecom, Sky, and other businesses, as well as the main production facilities, broadcasting licenses and transmission infrastructure in Mexico.

As previously announced, Univision CEO Wade Davis will lead the combined company, Alfonso de Angoitia will serve as executive chairman of the TelevisaUnivision board and Marcelo Claure, CEO of SoftBank Group International will become vice chairman.

While the Televisa news division will be owned by the new company, news content production for Mexico will be outsourced from a company owned by The Azcárraga family to guarantee that news content remains in Mexican hands and is produced in Mexico.

The companies have previously said that the Spanish-language market, which represents around 600 million people globally, and an aggregate GDP of about $7tn, is significantly underserved from a streaming perspective relative to other major markets.

They cited the stat that fewer than 10% of the Spanish speaking population currently use an OTT video product, compared with the English language market where nearly 70% of the population has at least one streaming service.

Televisa will contribute to the transaction its content assets for a total value of $4.8bn, comprised of $3bn in cash, $1.5bn in Univision equity and $300m from other sources.

Davis said: “We are combining two iconic and market-leading companies that have a rich, shared history and an incredible portfolio of assets. This combination will create a business without comparison in the global media landscape.”

The agreement is the latest development in what has been an eventful period for Univision. In December 2020, it changed ownership when ForgeLight and Searchlight bought the 64% of Univision not owned by Televisa.

In February 2021, it acquired independent Spanish-language streaming service VIX and in March 2021 launched its PrendeTV service, an AVOD streaming platform targeting Spanish-speaking audiences in the US, before news of its Televisa merger plans formally emerged.

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