Wade Davis and Searchlight Close Deal for Majority Univision Stake

Searchlight Capital Partners and Wade Davis’ ForgeLight LLC said they completed their acquisition of a controlling 64% stake in Univision Holding Inc.

Wade Davis

Former Viacom CFO Wade Davis named CEO of Univision. (Image credit: ©DARIO ACOSTA)

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the Wall Street Journal reported that the companies paid $526 million and assumed the company’s debt.

Also Read: FCC Approves Univision Sale to SearchLight

Davis, a former CFO for Viacom, has become CEO of Univision, succeeding Vince Sadusky.

Televisa said it will maintain its 36% ownership in Univision and convert warrants it holds into common stock. Television will also continue to be a major supplier of programming to Univision.

“I am honored to be partnering with Searchlight and Televisa to begin this exciting new era for Univision,” said Davis.

Also Read: New Directors Join Univision Board Ahead of Takeover

“Televisa’s strategic insight and global content leadership, coupled with Searchlight’s tremendous experience as a long-term media investor, will help us fully realize Univision’s potential as the leading Hispanic content company in the United States. Univision’s recognized and trusted brand, its consistent performance, and its leadership serving an important and growing consumer audience give us an unmatched opportunity to achieve even greater success,” Davis said.

Univision was the dominant Spanish-language television company for years.
After going private in a  $13 billion deal led by Haim Saban in 2007, Univision was saddled by billions in debt.

Comcast’s Telemundo has turned the Spanish-language market into a horse race in recent years by poaching rights to big sports events including the World Cup and offering more current primetime programming versus Univision’s more traditional telenovelas.

“We are excited to be part of this new phase of Univision. Wade’s leadership and Searchlight’s support are the catalysts that Univision needs to solidify its position as the leading Spanish-language media organization in the United States in light of the rapid changes that the industry is facing,” said Bernardo Gomez and Alfonso de Angoitia, co-CEOs of Televisa.  

“We are looking forward to an even closer collaboration with Univision to help it implement the many transformational initiatives that Wade has set out to achieve. We would also like to thank Haim Saban for his leadership and dedication to Univision all these years,” the Televisa executives said.

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.