Univision Enters Puerto Rico

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Spanish-language television network Univision Communications Inc. is moving into its last untapped Hispanic territory in the U.S., buying two TV stations and production facilities in Puerto Rico, Thursday’s Wall Street Journal reported.

The Hispanic broadcaster today is set to announce the acquisition of WLII/WSUR Inc. of San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Raycom Media Inc. of Montgomery, Ala. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The purchase gives Univision (UVN) stations WLII in San Juan and WSUR in Ponce, the island’s fourth-largest city, as well as local production facilities and an affiliate agreement with WORA in the smaller city of Mayaguez.

The move into Puerto Rico is an important step for Univision. The Latino broadcaster is the fifth-largest network in the U.S., reaching 93% of the nation’s 35.3 million Latinos, possessing a consumer power of more than $450 billion, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth.

The acquisition — expected to close in the first quarter of next year pending regulatory approvals — will add a market of 3.8 million people and $37 billion in spending power, according to consultant Santiago & Valdez Solutions of Newport Beach, Calif.

The new market might prove a tough nut to crack. Univision has kept its first place among Hispanic audiences in the U.S. with a programming line-up heavy with soap operas produced by Mexico’s powerhouse Grupo Televisa SA. In Puerto Rico, however, Televisa’s shows already run on rival Telemundo Networks.

In Puerto Rico, Univision plans to maintain its new stations’ schedule of locally produced news shows, sports and movies, but says it might complement this line-up with some Univision shows in the future.

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