Univision Withdraws IPO

Promotes Peter Lori to chief financial officer

Spanish-language content company Univision Communications has withdrawn documents for its planned initial public offering and named a new chief financial officer, former EVP Finance and chief accounting officer Peter Lori, to replace Francisco Lopez-Balboa, who has decided to leave to pursue other interests.

Lopez-Balboa, a former Goldman Sachs banker, was hired three years ago to prepare the company for its IPO, which initially intended to raise about $1 billion and would have valued Univision at about $20 billion. But in a statement, Univision said it decided to pull the IPO due to prevailing market conditions.

Lori was Lopez-Balboa’s chief lieutenant and has served in several roles, including deputy CFO and interim CFO, since he joined Univision in 2005 from accounting firm Arthur Andersen, where he served as a partner. He will report to CEO Randy Falco.

“Pete has been a critical member of our senior finance team for the last 13 years, and has the right combination of corporate finance and accounting expertise, clear leadership skills and deep knowledge of our company to drive financial growth at UCI,” Falco said in a statement. “He has been instrumental in helping us to reduce our debt and improve our capital structure, and we are confident our finance organization will continue to thrive under his leadership.”

Falco thanked Lopez-Balboa for his contributions to Univision since joining the company in 2015, “during which he led a strong and capable finance and accounting organization in addition to managing our relationships with many of our external stakeholders. Given that our path to pursue a public offering has changed, this is an opportunity for Frank to begin the next chapter of his career. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Univision filed its S-1 Registration Statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2015 but has delayed an actual IPO for years, citing market conditions.

Univision has gained popularity in the wake of President Trump’s immigration policies, with a viewership keen to learn the news of the day in their native language. The company also attracted some interest from Liberty Media chairman John Malone, who met with Providence Equity representatives at last year’s Allen & Co. retreat, according to reports. Malone and Univision were far apart on valuation back then, but the timing may be better for a deal now.

Univision had been a publicly traded company for years, but went private in 2007 in a deal engineered by media mogul Haim Saban, TPG Capital, Providence Equity and others. The IPO was seen as a way to allow those investors to cash out.

With no IPO in sight, Lopez-Balboa was no longer needed and Lori, who has shown he can handle the financial aspects of the job, was seen as the logical choice to step into the role.        

“I am excited to have the opportunity to lead our financial organization and to continue working with the talented and driven individuals at UCI,” Lori said in a statement. “Throughout my time here I’ve been focused on helping to strengthen our financial results for the benefit of our audiences, employees and key stakeholders, and I remain committed to meeting our strategic goals. With a platform of strong 2017 results to build on, I look forward to working with Randy and the rest of the team to position our Company for long-term success.”