Davis Group Acquires Majority of Univision

A group led by former Viacom CFO Wade Davis has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Univision.

Searchlight Capital Partners and ForgeLight, founded by Davis, are the investment companies behind the bid.

Davis will be the company’s new CEO replacing Vince Sadusky.

Televisa will retain its 36% stake in Univision and its agreement to license programming to Univision remains unchanged.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Univision has a proven track record of success in reaching and serving the U.S. Hispanic community, who represent 1 in 5 Americans and growing," said Eric Zinterhofer, founding partner of Searchlight. "Most recently, Univision and its talented employees have made great strides under the leadership of Vince Sadusky and the stewardship of chairman Haim Saban and the full Sponsor Group. The strong support of Televisa, a premier content producer in the Spanish speaking world, and Wade Davis, a proven executive in areas which include advanced advertising and digital distribution, further enhances our confidence in Univision's bright future."

Searchlight and ForgeLight will be buying out the investors who took Univision private. They include Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group. The group owns a 64% stake in Univision.

Going private left Univision saddled with billions in debt at a time when Comcast's Telemundo began to make inroads in the Hispanic market Univision had dominated.

“I am proud to partner with Searchlight and Televisa to lead Univision at such an exciting point in its history. Univision's leadership and connection with one of the most important audiences in the U.S. today creates an amazing platform to drive innovation, build market-defining content and create an even deeper relationship with its audience,” said Davis.

"I am honored to be partnering with Televisa and Searchlight to help steward Univision into this next phase. Televisa has a shared history with Univision dating back many years and a deep strategic relationship today. The context, insight and strategic content that Televisa brings to Univision have been key to the company's success,” Davis added. “I have worked with Searchlight as a limited partner, board member and friend since the team founded the firm. They are among the smartest and most value additive investors in our industry and there is no one I would rather partner with in this transaction. This group of owners will be able to support the incredible team at Univision to deliver even more value to its advertisers, distributors and most importantly, its audience."

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.