Televisa and Univision Merge to Fight Back in the Streaming WarBy Andrea Villar | Wed, 04/14/2021 - 10:00
No one wants to be left behind in the so-called streaming war. Grupo Televisa and Univision have reached an agreement to combine content assets in a historic transaction that will create “the world's largest Spanish-language media group,” as competition from streaming platforms heats up. “Together, Televisa-Univision can aggressively pursue innovation and growth through digital platforms as the industry continues to evolve,” said Emilio Azcárraga, Executive Chairman of Televisa's Board of Directors, in a statement sent to the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV).
The new company will be led by Wade Davis, CEO of Univision, while Alfonso de Angoitia, Co-Chairman of Televisa, will serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Meanwhile, SoftBank International CEO Marcelo Claure will become Vice Chairman of the Board, which will have 13 other members. The deal was partially financed by a US$1 billion Series C investment led by SoftBank's Latin American Fund, with participation from ForgeLight, Google and The Raine Group.
“Softbank's Latin America fund is proud to be the lead investor in the merger between Univision and Televisa, a Spanish-language digital media company for more than 600 million people. As a Latino, I am proud to be its Vice Chairman of the Board!” wrote Marcelo Claure on his Twitter account.
El fondo de @Softbank de Latinoamérica se enorgullece de ser el principal inversor en la fusión entre @univision y @Televisa, una empresa de medios digitales en español para más de 600 millones de personas. Como Latino, es un orgullo ser su vicepresidente de la Junta Directiva! pic.twitter.com/hyjOLkbXhe— Marcelo Claure (@marceloclaure) April 14, 2021
“When you see shareholders like Google and SoftBank, that have confidence in Televisa, it also reflects that they have confidence in Mexico and in the Spanish-speaking market,” said Azcárraga in an interview with Grupo Fórmula earlier today. He added that this merger will allow the company to “launch and consolidate a platform to compete with Netflix, Amazon and Disney”. In 2019, Televisa relaunched its Blim platform under the name Blim TV, offering 30 live channels, including TUDN, Antena 3 and Telemundo. However, by the end of 2020, the platform only held a 1.9 percent market share in the streaming sector in Mexico, according to The Competitive Intelligence Unit.
Televisa, which will be the largest shareholder in the new company, would contribute its content assets for a total value of US$4.8 billion. Meanwhile, Univision will pay US$3 billion in cash, US$750 million in Univision common equity and US$750 million in Series B preferred equity, with an annual dividend of 5.5 percent. According to the statement, Televisa-Univision expects to launch a global streaming platform for the "significantly underserved Spanish-language market" in early 2022. This deal will be subject to regulatory approvals in the US and Mexico.