By: George Szalai and Etan Vlessing
The Spanish-language media giant, which has been eyeing an IPO, also reports its latest quarterly financials.
Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications on Thursday said it has extended its employment agreement with president and CEO Randy Falco by two years.
The 63-year-old will now stay in place through Jan. 31, 2020. “Randy has been the architect of [Univision’s] evolution since 2011, guiding the company’s tremendous expansion, steadily improving Univision’s financial performance and significantly improving the balance sheet by paying down debt,” said chairman Haim Saban.
“With Randy’s vision, [the company] has remained the undisputed leader in Spanish-language media and at the same time successfully diversified into English-language media to provide young, diverse Americans with the content they crave in the formats they seek, Saban added.
The Spanish-language media giant operates such assets as broadcast networks Univision Network and UniMas, formerly Telefutura, as well as cable channel Galavision and sports network Univision Deportes. Falco during a morning call with analysts offered little comment on Univision and Charter Communications remaining at loggerheads in the courts over what the cable giant should pay to have the Spanish language channel as part of its TV package.
“We’re still in litigation, although some judgements are being moved out to Nov. 30,” he told market watchers. Charter Communications and Univision decided against any potential station blackouts until a judge rules on motions for summary judgment in the ongoing lawsuit between the cable provider and the network.
Falco also said little about another contract dispute, this time one that has Univision channels gone dark on Verizon’s Fios cable network. “We’re in discussions and hope to be back on the air soon,” he told analysts.
Univision is also facing more pay TV subscribers opting for Internet TV offerings like Netflix and Amazon Video amid digital disruption. Falco reported a “slight decline” in subscribers during the latest quarter, compared to the second quarter.
“Whenever there’s cord-cutting, it does impact us… We’re not going to be immune to that,” he said. Univision, which has been planning an IPO, this year reportedly saw John Malone approach its owners about a possible acquisition of a big stake.
Against that backdrop, Univision on Thursday posted its third-quarter financials, with earnings of $104 million, compared to a year-ago loss of $30.5 million. Adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA), another profitability metric, increased 6.9 percent in the third quarter to $339.8 million.
Revenue rose 5.9 percent to $778.2 million as pro forma core advertising revenue fell 8.7 percent, but non-advertising revenue, including subscriber fee, content licensing and other contractual revenue, rose 20.1 percent.
“We continued to reduce our debt and improve our capital structure, highlighted by our $721 million net debt reduction year to date,” said Falco in a statement. “We finished as the number one Spanish-language network for the 25th consecutive broadcast season and continue to have the number one Spanish-language sports and cable networks. We reinforced our position as the home of soccer in the U.S. with the successful Gold Cup tournament and launch of the new Liga MX season.”
Source: Hollywood Reporter