Televisa was scrambling on Thursday to assemble a bid for Univision, the US’ largest Spanish-language media company, after two private equity firms bolted from its consortium in a dispute over price.
A spokesman for Televisa said the Mexican media group was still “confident” that it would submit the most attractive bid for Univsion in spite of the turmoil.
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Blackstone Group pulled out of the Televisa consortium on Wednesday. Their departures followed that of Carlyle Group, the Washington-based private equity firm, which walked away earlier in the week.
The disarray in the Televisa consortium meant that Univision was left with only one bid two days after a deadline the company had set for interested parties.
The offer, from a consortium led by media magnate Haim Saban, was for $35.50 per share, according to people familiar with the matter, valuing Univision at about $11bn, excluding debt.
That bid was well below the $40 per share level that Univision executives had been targeting, and has caused some analysts to question whether the auction would result in a sale.
Many analysts considered Televisa to be the frontrunner because it already owns a stake in Univision and supplies the majority of its programming through an exclusive contract that runs through 2017.
Even as traditional television and radio broadcasters have been threatened by competition from the internet for audience and advertisers, many Wall Street analysts have remained bullish about Univision because it caters to the US’ fast-growing Hispanic population.
In early trading on Thursday, Univision’s shares were down $1, or 2.9 per cent, at $32.84. The rocky start to the auction led them to fall more than 4 per cent on Wednesday.