PE-backed Univision buys TheRoot.com

Univision Communications Inc., which is expected to go public, has acquired The Root, an African American news site, from Graham Holdings.

Financial terms weren’t announced. TheRoot.com, which averages 5 million unique users per month, provides news and commentary from an African American perspective.

Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., a noted critical race scholar and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, founded The Root along with Donald Graham, Graham Holdings Company chairman and CEO, in 2008.

Graham Holdings is the seller. The Root was a subsidiary of The Slate Group, which is owned by Graham. It’s not clear if Gates or CEO Graham owned stakes individually. Lyne Pitts is staying on as managing editor of The Root, a statement said.

Univision is a very popular U.S. Spanish language broadcaster. The deal represents Univision’s bid to build a digital network catering to multicultural millennial consumers, the Financial Times said. Minorities are expected to fuel all population growth among adults aged 18 to 49 from 2015 through 2025, Univision said citing current Census data.

More importantly, African-Americans and Hispanics represent $2.3 trillion in combined purchasing power, Univision said.

The deal comes as Univision is expected to go public. The media company has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank to lead an IPO, Reuters News reported in March.

Univision is backed by private equity. In 2007, Haim Saban and a group of PE firms (Madison Dearborn Partners, TPG Capital, Providence Equity Partners, and Thomas H. Lee Partners) bought Univision for $13.7 billion.

Graham Holding, Univision, The Root, Slate, Prof. Gates and Don Graham could not be reached for comment.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock