July 22 (Reuters) - Hemisphere Media Group Inc, a
U.S. streaming and broadcasting company focused on attracting
Hispanic viewers, is exploring options that include a potential
sale, according to people familiar with the matter.
The sale deliberations come amid a wave of dealmaking in the
Spanish-language TV industry. Hemisphere's bigger rival
Univision Communications Inc agreed in April to merge with Grupo
Televisa SAB's media assets in a $4.8 billion deal, amid
competitive pressure from Comcast Corp's Telemundo.
Hemisphere is working with advisers on the potential sale,
which could attract other companies and private equity firms,
the sources said. There is no certainty that any deal will be
reached, added the sources, who requested anonymity to discuss
the confidential matter.
A spokesperson for Hemisphere declined to comment. The
Miami-based company's shares ended trading on Thursday up 6.7%
at $12.78 on the news, giving it a market capitalization of $513
million. Hemisphere also carried debt as of the end of March of
about $250 million.
Programming targeting Spanish-speaking viewers has become a
key battlefield in the war for eyeballs among media companies,
including Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc's
Prime service. The U.S. Hispanic population is expected to grow
to 75 million by 2030 from 60.5 million in 2020.
Hemisphere became the sole owner of Spanish-language
streaming service Pantaya earlier this year, after paying about
$124 million for Lions Gate Entertainments 75% stake.
Pantaya boasts about 900,000 paying subscribers and expects
the number to grow to 2.5 million to 3.0 million by the end of
Hemisphere also owns and operates five U.S. Hispanic cable
networks, two Latin American cable networks and a broadcast
television network in Puerto Rico.
(Reporting by Krystal Hu in New York
Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Matthew Lewis)