Departing U.S. Ambassador to Mexico John Gavin has joined an investor group led by A. Jerrold Perenchio to bid on Los Angeles television station KMEX and four other Spanish-language outlets across the country, Perenchio said Tuesday.
Gavin will be a minority shareholder and a director of the joint venture, which hasn't yet made an offer for the five stations and hasn't even been named, Perenchio said in an announcement with William Thompson of Boston Ventures Ltd. Partnership.
'News to Me'
Gavin had been mentioned as a possible investor in a rival group headed by Alhambra businessman Enrique (Hank) Hernandez, but Gavin in April had denied that he was part of any group interested in buying the stations.
Hernandez said Tuesday that, as of last Thursday, Gavin had agreed to join his investor group. "This is news to me because this isn't what we were talking about last week," Hernandez said. "I can't say it surprises me, because I've been holding hands all the way to the altar and the bride disappears."
The former actor will leave his post as ambassador on Saturday after five years on the job. Gavin made no comment on the Perenchio group's announcement Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Gavin on Tuesday was named vice president in charge of Atlantic Richfield's newly formed federal and international relations unit. Gavin will be responsible for Arco's federal government relations office in Washington and will "recommend, advocate and implement company policy in federal government affairs" and will advise Arco senior management "on international relationships and other outside activities," Arco Chairman Lodwrick M. Cook said in a statement.
The five Spanish-language television stations are being sold under pressure from a federal judge to end a fight among stockholders that began with a 1976 lawsuit filed over company profits and policies. The owner, Spanish International Communications Corp., also is trying to resolve objections by a Federal Communications Commission administrative law judge who recommended in January that the stations' licenses be revoked because they are secretly controlled by foreign interests.
Besides KMEX, the four other stations for sale are KFTV-TV in Fresno, WLTV-TV in Miami, KWEX-TV in San Antonio and WXTV-TV in Paterson, N.J., a New York City suburb.
Robert Cahill, general counsel of Perenchio Television Inc., said the group expects to face competition in bidding for the stations. If the company is successful, Perenchio Television would own more than 50%, Boston Ventures would be the next largest shareholder and Gavin would have the smallest stake, he said.
Perenchio already owns half of WNJU-TV, a Spanish-language station in Linden, N.J. Producers Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin, who have been partners with Perenchio in other ventures, each own 25%.
Cahill said the group would "have to do something" about one of the New York-area stations if the group is successful.