Hemisphere Media Acquires Trio of Channels

Hemisphere Media Group, the publicly traded company focused on Hispanic television, has agreed to acquire three Spanish-language pay TV networks from Media World LLC, a subsidiary of Imagina US, for approximately $102.2 million in cash.

Hemisphere structured the deal as an asset purchase; the company expects to close it with cash on hand in Q1.

When completed, Hemisphere will own telenovela-focused Pasiones; Centroamerica TV, which features selected programming from networks across Central America; and TV Dominicana, which features news, entertainment and sports targeting the fast-growing Dominican population in the U.S.

Pasiones is presently distributed to about 3.8 million U.S. subscribers and 7.2 million Latin American homes. Centroamerica TV is in more than 3.3 million U.S. households, while TV Dominicana is accessible to more than 2.2 million stateside pay TV subscribers.

The trio of networks are expected to have generated about $12.2 million of EBITDA in 2013, for an effective purchase-price multiple of 8.4 times, Hemisphere said.

"We are thrilled to be bringing Pasiones, Centroamerica TV and TV Dominicana to our world-class portfolio,” Hemisphere CEO Alan Sokol said. “These networks target valuable, growing and underserved segments of the Hispanic audience. With this acquisition, Hemisphere will own five leading U.S. Hispanic cable networks, two Latin American cable networks and WAPA-TV in Puerto Rico.

“We believe that we can add significant value to these channels through improved programming, marketing and distribution efforts,” Sokol added. “These networks will expand our commercial inventory and cross-selling opportunities in the U.S. and augment our Latin American offerings."

Sokol added that the purchase of Pasiones, Centroamerica TV and TV Dominicana is consistent with Hemisphere’s plan to acquire “unique assets with significant earnings contributions in the highly desirable Hispanic television market.”

Hemisphere’s holdings include the Cinelatino pay TV network and WAPA América, the stateside feed of San Juan-based WAPA-TV.

In related news, Hemisphere’s WAPA América will broadcast exclusive live coverage of the 2014 Viña del Mar music festival, set to kick off on Feb.23 from the beach resort in Valparaiso, Chile. Ricky Martin headlines the first of six nights of the 55th edition of Latin America’s largest music festival.

Other headliners include Laura Pausini, Fito Paez, Ana Gabriel, Alejandro Fernandez, La Ley, Carlos Vives, Rod Stewart, Jesse & Joy, Melendi, Tommy Torres and Alexis & Fido. Network coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET each night of the festival.