ForgeLight and Searchlight Capital Partners’ Acquisition of Univision

BofA Securities served as the financial advisor to Searchlight, Paul Weiss Rifkin Wharton & Garrison LLP acted as its legal counsel. Guggenheim Securities LLC served as financial advisor to ForgeLight, and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and Proskauer Rose LLP acted as its legal counsel. Goldman Sachs & Co. served as financial adviser to Searchlight and ForgeLight as a group. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, LionTree Advisors LLC and Moelis & Company LLC acted as financial advisors to Univision, and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, Covington & Burling LLP and Sidley Austin LLP served as legal counsel to Univision. Allen & Company LLC acted as the financial advisor to Televisa, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP served as its legal counsel.

Univision Holdings, Inc. (together with its wholly owned subsidiary, Univision Communications Inc., “Univision”), a leading media company in the United States, Searchlight Capital Partners, LP, a global private investment firm, and ForgeLight LLC, an operating and investment company focused on the media and consumer technology sectors, entered into a definitive agreement in which Searchlight and ForgeLight will acquire a majority ownership interest in Univision from all stockholders of Univision other than Grupo Televisa, S.A.B. (“Televisa”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Televisa, a leading media company in the Spanish-speaking world, has elected to retain its approximate 36 percent stake in Univision’s fully diluted equity capital on an as converted basis. Televisa’s Program License Agreement with Univision will remain in effect and will not expire unless Televisa voluntarily sells down a substantial portion of its ownership stake, at which point the agreement would remain in place for an additional 7.5 years. The agreement, which is one of Univision’s most strategic assets, provides the company exclusive access to the largest Spanish-language video library in the world.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Searchlight and ForgeLight will purchase the remaining 64 percent ownership interest from the other stockholders of Univision, led by an investor group including Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group (“the Sponsor Group”). Searchlight and ForgeLight will partner closely with Televisa and Wade Davis, founder of ForgeLight, who will become CEO of Univision upon close of the transaction. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions including receipt of regulatory approvals, is expected to close later this year.

Univision is the most recognized and trusted brand among U.S. Hispanics, providing best-in-class, culturally relevant media anytime, anywhere via its multi-content platform.

Searchlight Capital Partners is a global private investment firm with offices in New York, London and Toronto.

ForgeLight was founded in 2019 by Wade Davis and is an operating and investment company focused on the media and consumer technology sectors. ForgeLight directly operates or provides dedicated operating support to its companies and is backed by some of the largest financing institutions in the world.

The Proskauer team was led by partner and Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group co-head Rob Freeman (Picture) and included associates Wai Choy and Kevin Milewski (TMT), Charlie Peskowitz (Private Equity Mergers & Acquisitions) and Jordan Horowitz (Corporate).

The Cravath team was led by partners Robert I. Townsend III, Damien R. Zoubek and Keith Hallam and includes associates Daniel J. Cerqueira, Jin-Kyu Baek, James Ding, Michael P. E. Dooley and Maria Ricaurte on M&A matters; partners Michael S. Goldman, Andrew J. Pitts, Stephen M. Kessing and C. Daniel Haaren and associate Cole Dumond on financing matters; partners Stephen L. Gordon and Kara L. Mungovan, associate Andrew T. Davis and foreign associate attorney Ocka A. Stumm on tax matters; partner Eric W. Hilfers, senior attorney Romica Singh and associate Brian Diliberto on executive compensation and benefits matters; partner David J. Kappos and associate Kathryn-Ann Stamm on intellectual property matters; partner Matthew Morreale on environmental matters; and senior attorney Joyce Law on real estate matters.

The multidisciplinary Willkie deal team was led by partner A. Mark Getachew and included: partners William Gump, Phillip Isom and Russell Pinilis; counsel Michael Jones and Mia Hayes; and associate Donald Casey.

The Sidley Austin team advising Univision was led by David Ni, Kelly Dybala, Angela Fontana and Kayleigh McNelis.

The Paul, Weiss team advising Searchligh included M&A partners Taurie Zeitzer and Justin Rosenberg; financing partners Brian Kim and Catherine Goodall; and antitrust partner Jonathan Kanter.

Covington provided FCC regulatory, distribution, and antitrust counsel to Univision. The team included Mace Rosenstein, Matt DelNero, Hannah Lepow, and Thomas Parisi (regulatory); Robyn Polashuk, Jennifer Johnson, Michelle Choe, and David Lefebvre (distribution); and Deborah Garza, Jim O’Connell, and Ross Demain (antitrust).

The Pillsbury team included Scott Flick, Lauren Lynch Flick and Jessica Nyman.

Involved fees earner: Michelle Choe – Covington & Burling; Matthew DelNero – Covington & Burling; Ross Demain – Covington & Burling; Deborah Garza – Covington & Burling; Jennifer Johnson – Covington & Burling; David Lefebvre – Covington & Burling; Hannah Lepow – Covington & Burling; James J. O’Connell – Covington & Burling; Thomas Parisi – Covington & Burling; Robyn Polashuk – Covington & Burling; Mace Rosenstein – Covington & Burling; Jin-Kyu Baek – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Daniel Cerqueira – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Andrew Davis – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Brian Diliberto – Cravath Swaine & Moore; James Ding – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Michael P. E. Dooley – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Cole Dumond – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Michael Goldman – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Stephen Gordon – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Daniel Haaren – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Keith Hallam – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Eric Hilfers – Cravath Swaine & Moore; David Kappos – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Stephen Kessing – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Joyce Law – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Matthew Morreale – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Kara Mungovan – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Andrew Pitts – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Maria Ricaurte – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Romica Singh – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Kathryn‑Ann Stamm – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Robert Townsend III – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Damien Zoubek – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Catherine Goodall – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Jonathan Kanter – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Brian Kim – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Justin Rosenberg – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Taurie Zeitzer – Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Scott Flick – Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP; Lauren Lynch Flick – Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP; Jessica Nyman – Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP; Wai Choy – Proskauer Rose LLP; Rob Freeman – Proskauer Rose LLP; Kevin Milewski – Proskauer Rose LLP; Charles Peskowitz – Proskauer Rose LLP; Kelly Dybala – Sidley Austin LLP; Angela Fontana – Sidley Austin LLP; Kayleigh McNelis – Sidley Austin LLP; David Ni – Sidley Austin LLP; Donald Casey – Willkie Farr & Gallagher; Mark Getachew – Willkie Farr & Gallagher; William Gump – Willkie Farr & Gallagher; Mia Hayes – Willkie Farr & Gallagher; Phillip Isom – Willkie Farr & Gallagher; Michael Jones – Willkie Farr & Gallagher; Russell Pinilis – Willkie Farr & Gallagher;

Law Firms: Covington & Burling; Cravath Swaine & Moore; Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP; Proskauer Rose LLP; Sidley Austin LLP; Willkie Farr & Gallagher;

Clients: ForgeLight; Grupo Televisa SAB; Searchlight Capital Partners, L.P.; Univision Communications Inc.;

Author: Ambrogio Visconti