Univision Seeks Bidders

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Univision was scrambling to get its auction back together as an effort by the most motivated bidder group, led by 26% owner Grupo Television, crumbled.

Televisa’s bidding allies Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Blackstone Group, have walked away from the auction, clashing with Televisa over the price and terms within their partnership.

Televisa is expected to regroup, but for now, Univision is left with a single formal offer, that from a group that includes TV veteran Haim Saban, a children’s television syndicator and, briefly, owner of what is now cable channel ABC Family. Saban is teemed with Texas Pacific Group Inc., Thomas H. Lee Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners, and Providence Equity Partners.

Univision has been seeking $13 billion, but the group is offering closer to $11 billion. Even if the auction comes up short, Merrill Lynch media analyst Jessica Reif Cohen believes CEO Jerry Perenchio will sell. Senior management, she says, "has decided that this is the right time to exit the company, and we therefore find it unlikely that they would kill the auction and instead decide to continue running the business."

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