Univision Names Four Independent Directors To Its Board With Takeover Nearly Complete

Univision, the Hispanic media giant whose takeover by private equity investors led by former Viacom CFO Wade Davis will soon close, has named four independent directors to its board.

The new board members include SoftBank Group COO Marcelo Claure; United Airlines executive chairman Oscar Munoz; Estée Lauder Companies SVP of public affairs María Cristina “MC” González Noguera; and veteran Walmart exec Gisel Ruiz. It is understood that Univision will name four more members to the board when the pending takeover by new majority investors is complete. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2020.

ForgeLight, a firm run by Davis, along with Searchlight Capital Partners, are buying majority control of Univision from a collection of other private equity investors. Mexico-based production power Televisa is keeping its 36% stake.

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Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group acquired the company for $13.7 billion in 2007, beating out a rival bid from Televisa. The current transaction, which is expected to close at the end of the year, is expected to value the company at less than $10 billion.

Davis exited Viacom when it merged with CBS last December, emerging soon thereafter as the leader of the Univision bid. The deal, announced last February, was initially expected to close over the summer.

Univision has been run since 2018 by CEO Vince Sadusky. The local TV and Hispanic media veteran replaced predecessor Randy Falco after the longtime former NBC exec made a series of out-of-the-box investments in English-language websites and ill-fated cable network venture Fusion. Sadusky has implemented a “back-to-basics,” Spanish-language refocus in an effort to help the flagship broadcast network regain ground it had lost to U.S. rival Telemundo in some pockets of the schedule.

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