Univision Considers Sale

Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications is considering a sale of the company, a source familiar with the matter said, in an auction likely to draw keen interest from media conglomerates angling for an entry into the booming U.S. Hispanic market.

The source, confirming a report in The New York Times on Wednesday, said interested parties are likely to include media titans such as News Corp. (NWS), CBS Corp. (CBS) and Walt Disney Co. (DIS), General Electric Co.'s (GE), NBC Universal owns Telemundo, Univision's smaller rival in the United States.

Directors at Univision, whose market value is nearly $10 billion, are expected to meet about the proposal Wednesday, the Times report said. The company has retained investment bank UBS to run the auction if it is approved.

A Univision spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment.

Los Angeles-based Univision has seen its television audiences grow even as ratings for the top four U.S. networks erode under pressure from competing media such as the Internet and video games.

The company has also benefited as advertisers invest more of their budgets into attracting Hispanic consumers with campaigns in Spanish.

In November, Univision said fourth-quarter earnings would beat average analysts' estimates and approved a $500 million stock buyback. The company is due to report results March 2.

Univision has also been roiled by a legal dispute with its main supplier of programming, Mexico's Televisa . The company said earlier this month that Televisa accused Univision of violating a long-term contract between the two parties, in a possible bid to end their shared venture.