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One of the World’s Top Dealmakers Is Eyeing a Bid for Univision

Kiel Porter, Nabila Ahmed and Liana Baker

(Bloomberg) -- Serial dealmaker Michael Klein’s blank-check company is considering bidding for Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

Churchill Capital Corp. II, Klein’s special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, has spoken to advisers about making an offer for Univision, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. No decision has been made and Churchill Capital could opt to not move forward with a bid, the people said.

Univision has also drawn interest from other parties, they said.

A representative for Univision declined to comment. Representatives for New York-based Churchill Capital didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Klein is one of the world’s top dealmakers, with deep connections throughout the U.S., Europe and Middle East. He is advising Saudi Aramco on its planned IPO and he counseled Dow Chemical Co. on its jumbo merger in 2016 with DuPont.

The former Citigroup Inc. banker founded Churchill Capital this year and took it public in June, raising about $690 million, according to regulatory filings. He is the company’s chairman and chief executive officer.

SPACs are shell companies that raise money from public investors to pursue an acquisition they haven’t identified yet. Merging with a SPAC effectively enables a private company to go public without an IPO.

Clarivate Deal

Last year, Klein took another SPAC public. Churchill Capital Corp. closed a merger in May with information services provider Clarivate Analytics Plc.

Univision could potentially be among the biggest deals he has orchestrated since setting up his own firm in 2008.

The broadcaster -- struggling financially since a 2007 leveraged buyout -- has been in play for years. It rejected a takeover offer in 2017 from TV billionaire John Malone that had valued the company at as much as $15 billion. Last year, it scrapped an initial public offering.

Univision has engaged Morgan Stanley, Moelis & Co. and LionTree LLC to review strategic options, it said in July.

The company has been paying down its debt, which now totals $7.38 billion compared with $9.3 billion at the end of 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Debt Paydown

The company has been paying down its debt, which now totals $7.38 billion compared with $7.56 billion at the start of the year and $8.92 billion at the beginning of 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It paid down almost $900 million in 2017 and almost $500 million more last year, the data show.

Univision is backed by the private equity firms Madison Dearborn Partners, TPG Capital, Providence Equity Partners, Saban Capital Group, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Grupo Televisa SAB, Mexico’s largest broadcaster.

(Updates with Univision’s debt in 12th paragraph.)

--With assistance from Gerry Smith.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kiel Porter in Chicago at kporter17@bloomberg.net;Nabila Ahmed in New York at nahmed54@bloomberg.net;Liana Baker in New York at lbaker75@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Liana Baker at lbaker75@bloomberg.net, Michael Hytha

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