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Photo: Tal Cohen
Haim Saban (top) expands US business
Photo: Tal Cohen
Saban buys US TV company
Univision Communications, which broadcasts in Spanish, agrees to Saban Group's USD 12 billion offer, 13 percent premium on the share's stock market price

Univision Communications, the largest Spanish-broadcasting television company in the US, agreed to a USD 12.3 billion purchase offer from the Saban Group, led by American-Israeli billionaire Haim Saban.

 

The deal, equivalent to USD 36.25 per share, represents a 13 percent premium on the share's stock market price. The Saban Group, which is also acquiring the company's USD 1.4 billion worth of debt, includes the companies of Madison Dearborn, Providence Equity, Texas Pacific Group and Thomas Lee.

 

The Saban group upped their previous offer of USD 35.50 per share, in order to outbid competitors such a Grupo Television. With the purchase
of Univision Communications, the group is acquiring the Univision and TeleFutura television stations, together constituting an 80 percent chunk of the fastest growing television market in the United States and dwarfing rivals like NBC Universal's Telmondo and TV Azteca's Azteca America. Univision Communications also contains Galvision, the largest Spanish-language radio network in the US, with 69 radio stations.

 

Univision CEO, Gerald Francio (75), put the company up for sale in February, hoping to receive USD 40 per share. The sales announcement was almost pulled off the table when Mexico City Television, the largest Spanish broadcast television channel in the world, lost four partners and wasn't able to extend a purchase offer. The company is partners with Baine Capital and Cascade Investments (Bill Gates' investment company). The four partners who left the company, due to differences of opinion regarding the company's prices, were Carlyle, Blackstone, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, and Newvision Investments.

 

Saban postpones visit to Israel

 

Eventually, Mexico City Television did extend an offer, higher than Saban's original bid, but the Saban group upped their offer and won.

 

Haim Saban was scheduled to arrive in Israel this week, to participate in a director's meeting for the Bezeq Corporation, of which he has partial control, and a director's meeting for Channel 2 Keshet, where he owns 24 percent of the company's stocks.

 

Pursuant to the deal with Univision, Saban postponed his visit to Israel, which caused the director's meetings of the two companies to be postponed by a week. Currently, however, it seems that Saban will not arrive in Israel in a week's time or any time before August. To replace him at the meetings, he will most likely send Adam Chesnoff, a former Israeli and the president and CEO of Saban Capital Group, who was also involved in closing the current deal.

 

News agencies and Gil Kalian contributed to the report 

 

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