InterMedia, Azteca Form Hemisphere Media Group

InterMedia Partners, fresh off a multimillion dollar deal to merge its Sportsman Channel outdoors network with Outdoor Channel, has engineered a transaction to take its Hispanic network holdings including Cine Latino and WAPA America public in a deal valued at about $400 million.

InterMedia Partners VII, headed by cable legend Leo J. Hindery, Jr., will essentially roll its Hispanic networks holdings –Spanish language movie network Cinelatino and InterMedia Espanol Holdings (which includes Spanish-language cable network WAPA America and broadcaster WAPA TV) – with publicly traded shell corporation Azteca Acquisition Corp. The combination will create Hemisphere Media Group, a Miami-based publicly traded pure-play Spanish language media company. Hemisphere will be headed by InterMedia Partner and former Telemundo chief operating officer Alan Sokol as CEO. After the deal is closed, expected by April 6, InterMedia will own 73% of Hemisphere with Azteca shareholders holding the remaining 27%.

“The combination of these two companies creates a powerful new presence in Hispanic media,” Sokol said in a statement.

Azteca, a special purpose acquisition corporation, is contributing its $100 million in cash assets to the deal. The InterMedia assets are valued at about $300 million.

 “We are thrilled to be merging with and taking public these exciting, highly profitable and complementary companies, which have performed exceptionally under the operational and industry expertise of Alan Sokol and his teams,” said Azteca Acquisition CEO Gabriel Brener in a statement. Hemisphere will meet the growing media demands of Hispanic consumers.”

The combination also should position the new company to better address the growing U.S. Hispanic market, said InterMedia managing partner and Hemisphere Media chairman Peter Kern in a statement.

“With the U.S. Hispanic population and its buying power continuing to grow at exceptional rates, Hemisphere is a unique platform positioned to succeed in the most dynamic market in media and represents the only way for the public to invest in a pure-play Hispanic TV/cable network business,” Kern said.

Cinelatino, has about 12 million subscribers across the U.S., Latin America and Canada. WAPA America, which targets Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean Hispanics living in the U.S., has about 5 million subscribers. WAPA TV,  the leading broadcast television network and content producer in Puerto Rico, produces over 60 hours per week of news and entertainment programming.

Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Maxim Group LLC are acting as capital markets and financial advisors to Azteca Acquisition Corporation. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC is acting as financial advisor to InterMedia Partners. Greenberg Traurig, LLP is acting as legal advisor to Azteca Acquisition Corporation, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is acting as legal advisor to InterMedia Partners. Stan Budeshtsky is acting as a consultant to Azteca Acquisition Corporation.

InterMedia has been on an acquisitions roll in the past several months. In November, it announced its intention to merge its Sportsman Channel with Outdoor Channel Holdings, creating InterMedia Outdoor Holdings, in a deal valued at more vthan $200 million.   That transaction is expected to close in the first quarter.