Univision Scraps IPO; Falco to Exit

Univision withdrew its IPO on March 6
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A day after Univision formally scrapped its long-held plans for an initial public offering, CEO Randy Falco informed the Spanish-language content giant’s board that he will retire at the end of the year, just as talk of a sweeping restructuring at the company continues to heat up.

Univision withdrew its IPO on March 6, ending a three-year flirtation with the public markets. The programmer first filed for the offering in 2015 but has consistently delayed pulling the trigger amid continued uncertainty for stocks in general.

Falco, who joined Univision in 2011 after a 30-year career at NBC, was said to be treading on increasingly thin ice after the IPO withdrawal, which was seen as the main exit vehicle for long-time investors, including Univision chairman and Saban Capital Group chief Haim Saban, Providence Equity Partners, TPG Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

In a statement Saban said he “reluctantly agreed” to Falco’s request to retire at the end of the year, praising the executive for modernizing the company, growing earnings and reducing debt. Falco will assist the board in the restructuring, as well as the transition to new leadership.

The restructuring could drastically reduce costs — some reports put the tally as high as $200 million — and may lead to significant layoffs, as Univision reportedly prepares itself for a sale. Univision had fielded several offers in the past — including one from Liberty Media chairman John Malone — but rejected them as too low. As ratings pressure has increased amid changing demographics and audience migration from its core telenovela programming, that stance may change.

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