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Televisa, Private Equity Firm May Bid Jointly for Univision

Times Staff Writer

A consortium of investors including Rhode Island-based Providence Equity Partners Inc. and Mexico’s largest television broadcaster, Grupo Televisa, is considering bidding for Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications Inc., a person close to the situation said Thursday.

The effort is in the early stages, the person cautioned, and might not result in a bid. However, Televisa executives have long expressed interest in expanding the company’s reach into the lucrative U.S. media market. Televisa supplies the popular telenovelas that drive Univision’s prime-time ratings and the company has about $1 billion in cash on hand.

Televisa spokesman Manuel Compean declined to confirm the company’s involvement, saying only that Televisa was still evaluating whether to bid on Univision, which is controlled by Los Angeles billionaire A. Jerrold Perenchio.

“A position has not been taken on whether or not to participate in the process,” Compean said. Televisa owns 11% of Los Angeles-based Univision. Federal regulations prohibit a foreign firm from owning more than 25% of a U.S. broadcasting company.

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Another likely partner in the Providence-Televisa consortium would be Cisneros Group, which controls the Caracas, Venezuela, company Venevision, the source said. A representative of Cisneros Group was not available for comment.

Venevision owns 13% of Univision and, along with Televisa, has agreed to supply programming to Univision until at least 2017.

Univision declined to comment. Its shares climbed 21 cents Thursday to $32.92.


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