ForgeLight and Searchlight Capital Partners to Acquire Majority Stake in Univision

February 25, 2020

Willkie represented ForgeLight LLC, an operating and investment company focused on the media and consumer technology sectors, in the transaction.

On February 25, Univision Holdings, Inc. (together with its wholly owned subsidiary, Univision Communications Inc.), a leading Spanish language media company in the United States, Willkie client ForgeLight LLC, an operating and investment company focused on the media and consumer technology sectors, and Searchlight Capital Partners, LP, a global private investment firm, announced a definitive agreement in which ForgeLight and Searchlight will acquire a majority ownership interest in Univision from all stockholders of Univision other than Grupo Televisa, S.A.B. Willkie is representing ForgeLight in the transaction.

Televisa has elected to retain its approximate 36 percent stake in Univision's fully diluted equity capital on an as converted basis. Televisa's Program License Agreement with Univision will remain in effect and will not expire unless Televisa voluntarily sells down a substantial portion of its ownership stake, at which point the agreement would remain in place for an additional 7.5 years. The agreement, which is one of Univision's most strategic assets, provides the company exclusive access to a large Spanish-language video library.

Under the terms of the acquisition, ForgeLight and Searchlight will purchase the remaining 64 percent ownership interest from the other stockholders of Univision, led by an investor group including Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group. ForgeLight and Searchlight will partner closely with Televisa and Wade Davis, founder of ForgeLight, who will become CEO of Univision upon close of the transaction. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals, is expected to close later this year.

Univision is a recognized brand among U.S. Hispanics, providing culturally relevant media anytime, anywhere via its multi-content platform. On average, Univision News reaches nearly five million Hispanic Adult 18-49 viewers weekly. The company's media portfolio includes the Univision and UniMás broadcast networks, as well as cable networks Galavisión and TUDN. Locally, Univision owns or operates 65 television stations in major U.S. Hispanic markets and Puerto Rico.

Founded in 2019 by media and technology industry veteran Wade Davis, ForgeLight directly operates or provides dedicated operating support to its companies and is backed by some of the largest financing institutions in the world.

The multidisciplinary Willkie deal team was led by partner A. Mark Getachew and included: partners William Gump, Phillip Isom and Russell Pinilis; counsel Mia Hayes; and associate Donald Casey.