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Univision Sale to Searchlight OK’d by FCC

Univision
(Image credit: Univision)

WASHINGTON—The majority sale of Univision to investor groups Searchlight, ForgeLight and Grupo Televisa has been approved by the FCC’s Media Bureau, giving the trio majority ownership interest of the Spanish-language broadcaster and its TV and radio stations.

In addition, the FCC has granted Univision’s petition for a declaratory ruling so that the resulting company can exceed the FCC’s 25% cap on foreign ownership, so long as it is in compliance with national security and law enforcement rules set forth by the Justice Department.

As a result of the sale, Univision will be required to sell three TV stations serving Puerto Rico prior to the deal being completed. The stations are WLII-DT, WSUR-DT and WOLE-DT. Univision will be allowed to continue its operation of WFTY-TV in Smithtown, N.Y., as a satellite station of WFUT-TV in Newark, N.J.

“We find that the record presents no substantial and material question of fact as to whether the transaction serves the public interest,” the FCC Media Bureau’s ruling reads. “We next find that approval of the proposed transfer of control would be in the public interest and grant the applications—including the request for a continuing satellite exception—conditioned upon divestiture of overlap stations in Puerto Rico.”

PLUS: Univision Working on Spanishg-Language Streaming Service (Report)

Searchight and ForegLight will acquire 64% of Univision from Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group. Grupo Televisa, through Multimedia Telecom, will control the other 36% of Univision.

The FCC acknowledged that Univision does have pending license renewals, but that there are no qualifications for these pending renewals that would prevent the sale from occurring.