LBI Media and Estrella TV founder Lenard Liberman has resurfaced, following bankruptcy proceedings and his exit from the Spanish-language media company he built in California.
Since his departure, he formed the new Liberman Media Group LLC, through which he is buying WLII-TV, the Univision O&O in Puerto Rico and all its repeater stations on the island, including WSUR-DT and WOLE-DT.
Univision will continue to hold on to its TV station WSTE-DT and radio stations, including Uforia.
Univision has to sell the Puerto Rico stations in order to get FCC approval for the sale of a 64% stake in the company to its new majority owners, investment firms Searchlight Capital Partners and ForgeLight LLC, estimated at a $526 million price tag, according to the WSJ.
The divestiture was required, because Searchlight and ForgeLight currently have a stake in Hemisphere Media Group, which owns WLII-TV competitor WAPA-TV.
Media Moves obtained the following email Luis Fernandez-Rocha, Univision’s Regional President of Local Media, sent staff today, regarding the sale of the station.
As we informed you earlier this year, Univision is required to sell our Puerto Rico TV station, WLII, and its repeater stations across the island as a condition to the U.S. federal government approving the pending transaction between the Company and its future majority owners, Searchlight and ForgeLight. We fully understand the concerns that come with any change in ownership. Univision was fully committed to finding the right buyer who believes in broadcasting and its employees and understands Spanish-language media and culture. This week, our company reached an agreement for Burbank, California-based Liberman Media Group to acquire WLII-DT, WSUR-DT and WOLE-DT. We are not selling and will continue to operate our sister television station, WSTE-DT and our radio stations including Uforia.
Lenard Liberman, the President of Liberman Media Group, has extensive experience in the production of Spanish-language programming, as the former President of Liberman Broadcasting and the Estrella TV network. Following the close of this agreement, Liberman plans to continue programming the station with content from the Univision and UniMás broadcast networks and expanding the stations’ tradition of catering to the local market.
Pending customary regulatory review and approvals, the transaction is expected to close before the end of 2020. Until that time, WLII will continue to operate as a part of Univision on a business as usual basis.
We will share more information with you about the buyer and what to expect in the coming weeks.
Luis Fernandez-Rocha, Regional President of Local Media