Two Suits Filed Against Univision

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Days after Univision Communications announced it will accept a $12.3 billion buyout offer from a group of private equity firms, the company now faces two lawsuits from shareholders protesting the sale.

The lawsuits were filed in Los Angeles Supreme Court, according to Associated Press reports, and are seeking class-action status.

One suit, filed by a shareholder LA Murphy seeks a court order to block the sale because of unfair pricing and damages to shareholders. The suit claims Univision's boards put its interests ahead of shareholders and failed to invite an open and active auction. The second suit alleges the buyout benefits company insiders, but not shareholders.

Media giant Univision, which owns the most-watched Spanish-language network, sister net Telefutura, plus radio and TV stations, surprised many industry observers Tuesday by accepting a bid from five private equity firms, including one backed by media mogul Haim Saban, and turning down a consortium led by Mexican broadcast giant Televisa, a minority owner in Univision and its largest programming supplier. The Televisa group was hampered by several investors dropping out and submitted one bid for $35.75 per share, which was turned down by Univision.

It took two bids for the rival group, which includes Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group, to win prevail. After initially offering $35.50 per share, which was rejected, the consortium returned with a bid of $36.25 per share. The offer includes the assumption of $1.4 billion in debt.

When it put itself on the auction block in February, Univision was projecting it could fetch up to $40 per share.

A Univision spokesperson said the company would not comment on the lawsuits.

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