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Univision hires underwriters for IPO – Reuters

(Reuters) – U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank AG to lead an initial public offering (IPO), according to people familiar with the matter.

The IPO, expected to be one of the media industry’s biggest in years, could come in the second half of the year, raise more than $1 billion, and value the company at as much as $20 billion, including debt, the people said on Tuesday.

Several more banks have also been tapped to support the underwriting syndicate, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the appointments are not yet public. Univision and spokespeople for the banks declined to comment.

New York-based Univision owns a highly rated Spanish language broadcast network that sometimes beats English language broadcasters such as NBC in the primetime ratings race. It also owns another broadcast channel called UniMas, as well as several cable networks and a stable of Spanish radio stations.

Univision was taken private by a group of buyout firms, including Madison Dearborn Partners, Saban Capital, Providence Equity Partners, TPG Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners, for $12.3 billion in 2007.

Mexican media company Grupo Televisa (TLVACPO.MX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) owns an 8 percent stake in Univision and has bought debt that could be converted into a stake of up to 30 percent. It holds three board seats and also collects hundreds of millions in licensing revenue and royalties every year from Univision which airs a large chunk of its programing.

Univision has also explored selling itself in the last two years, speaking with companies such as CBS Corp (CBS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Time Warner Inc (TWX.N: Quote,Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), sources told Reuters last year. Nevertheless, the IPO remains the most attractive option for the buyout firms to cash out on their investment.

Univision generated annual net revenue of $2.91 billion last year, up from $2.63 billion a year ago. In the fourth quarter, its adjusted operating income was $336.2 million compared to $296.1 million a year earlier.