The sale of the Spanish-language network will be formally approved by shareholders tomorrow at a special meeting in Los Angeles. The buyers are a group made up of investment firms Thomas H. Lee Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Providence Equity Partners and Madison Dearborn Partners - plus L.A. billionaire Haim Saban. As noted by the Hollywood Reporter, the new owners will need to make peace with Grupo Televisa, which already owns 11 percent of Univision and failed in its bid to buy the company (along with several U.S. private equity firms). There was talk that the Mexican broadcaster would try to make an 11th-hour bid, but nothing came of it. So what happens now? There are several possibilities, such as Televisa retaining its 11 percent stake, or upping it to 25 percent (the maximum allowed by a foreign company).
Keep in mind that Televisa is not just some passive investor. It provides Univision with some of the network's most popular programming - including "La Fea Mas Bella," or "The Prettiest Ugly Girl" - under a 25-year licensing agreement. Televisa sued Univision last year to get out of the deal - even though it took in more than $100 million in royalties last year. Hard to believe either side will want to walk away from all that.