Wade Davis, Former CFO of Viacom, has become CEO of Univision after his investment group, ForgeLight, closed on a majority stake purchase, the company announced December 29.
The move results from last week's FCC approval of the sale of a majority stake in Univision Holdings by investment groups Searchlight Capital Partners and ForgeLight LLC; Davis founded and is CEO of the latter.
Davis, who spent 14 years as Viacom finance chief, replaces Vince Sadusky, who has been Univision's CEO since 2018.
As part of the deal, which was first reported in February 2020, Searchlight and ForgeLight purchased approximately 64% ownership interest in Univision from Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group.
Mexican mass media company Televisa has retained its approximate 36% stake in Univision's fully diluted equity capital, Univision said.
"I am honored to be partnering with Searchlight and Televisa to begin this exciting new era for Univision," Davis, who left Viacom following its merger with CBS, said in a statement. "Televisa's strategic insight and global content leadership, coupled with Searchlight's tremendous experience as a long-term media investor, will help us fully realize Univision's potential as the leading Hispanic content company in the United States."
Under Davis' leadership, Univision seeks to use its existing platforms and "pipeline of entertainment, sports and news content to deepen its relationship with the Hispanic community."
Univision Communications Inc. plans to launch a streaming service this year. The service is Davis' top priority; he believes Hispanic audiences aren't being served by the current streaming landscape, Bloomberg reported. A Univision spokesperson declined Bloomberg's requests for comment.
Streaming has been a mainstay of Davis' career. While at Viacom, Davis oversaw the acquisition of free streaming service Pluto TV. Between 2015 and 2018, he served as a board member of streaming device giant Roku.
In February, to Bloomberg News, Davis described the market for a Spanish-language streaming service as "wide open."
"It's really remarkable when you look at the competitive landscape that there is no high-quality, differentiated [over-the-top] service for this audience that is at scale," he told Deadline the same week. "It's a huge opportunity that is completely open from a competitive standpoint."
But Univision will face competition for viewers from a growing number of Spanish-language programs on services like Netflix, which has over 36 million Latin American subscribers, and several original series in Spanish, Bloomberg wrote, adding that Telemundo, the No. 2 Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S., offers programming on streaming site Peacock, which its parent company, Comcast Corp., owns.
Univision has been privately owned since a $12.7 billion deal in 2007, The Hollywood Reporter wrote. Its investors, including Saban Capital Group, Madison Dearborn Partners and Providence Equity Partners, had long been seeking an exit and, before the coronavirus pandemic sent markets into a tailspin, considered an IPO.