It’s been a chaotic 2018 for Univision, and additional changes could be coming at the highest levels of the company.
Billionaire Haim Saban “is considering stepping down” as the chairman of Univision, Bloomberg reports, and he has reportedly told colleagues and business associates he wants Tribune CEO Peter Kern to replace him. This report comes weeks after the departures of Univision chief revenue officer Tonia O’Connor and chief content officer Isaac Lee and two months after former Telemundo CFO Vince Sadusky replaced the retiring Randy Falco as Univision CEO. Falco had led the Spanish language media juggernaut since 2011.
Kern, chief executive of local TV station company Tribune Media since March 2017, is reportedly already advising Sadusky, who was a high-profile local news executive between his stints at Telemundo and Univision. Sadusky’s first steps since arriving in June have been to refocus on the core Univision broadcast properties, which has meant cutting staff and putting a for sale sign on Fusion Media Group, which includes the former Gawker sites like Deadspin and Gizmodo as well as The Onion and The Root.
The cost-cutting measures taken by Univision kicked into high gear back in March when the company announced it was not going forward with its long-anticipated initial public offering (IPO). Layoffs earlier this year included Felipe Holguin, CEO of Fusion Media Group. President and chief content officer of Fusion cable network Daniel Eilemberg was laid off as well.
Bloomberg adds that Univision “is working with advisers to sell its digital properties and its owners, including Saban’s investment firm, are interested in offloading the rest of the business, according to people familiar with that matter.”
Apparently Saban’s transition has been complicated by regulators’ resistance to Tribune’s sale to Sinclair.
Despite President Trump calling on his FCC chairman Aji Pai to approve the $3.9 billion deal, Pai expressed “serious concerns” about the terms of the acquisition last month.