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Televisa May Make New Bid for Univision

July 19, 2006|From Reuters

MEXICO CITY — Mexican media giant Televisa on Tuesday said it did not rule out a new takeover offer for U.S. broadcaster Univision after losing a bidding war over the company last month.

Televisa suffered a major blow to its U.S. plans when a group of investors, including media mogul Haim Saban, edged it out with a $12.3-billion bid for Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc.

Televisa later said it was ready to sell its 11.4% stake in Univision, marking a shift for the company, which has sought to boost its stake for more than 25 years.

Executive Vice President Alfonso De Angoitia said Tuesday that Televisa might consider a new counter-bid for Univision.

"We have not made a final decision, but I will not speculate on the price," De Angoitia told analysts during a conference call.

He stressed that Televisa would not join the Saban group, which also includes other U.S. equity firms, in its acquisition of Univision.

"We also officially told that group we would be willing to start a negotiation to sell the block of stock that we own in Univision to them. That has not changed," De Angoitia said.

The buyout deal between Univision and the group of investors carries a $300-million breakup fee.

In the meantime, Televisa said it would explore other business opportunities outside broadcast television to expand in the United States.

Analysts believe that the most likely growth vehicle for the Mexican company outside of broadcast TV in the U.S. Spanish-speaking market is the Internet.

Univision and Televisa have disputed the rights to air Televisa content online in the U.S.

A provision under a 17-year programming deal they share, which is due to expire in 2017, bars both from airing Televisa shows online in the U.S. But the provision expires Dec. 19, after which Televisa believes that it will have the right to do so.

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