HC2 Holdings, Inc. (“HC2”) announced that its subsidiary, HC2 Network Inc. (“HC2 Network”), has acquired Azteca America, a Spanish-language broadcast network, from affiliates of TV Azteca, S.A.B. de C.V. (“Azteca”) (BMV: AZTECACPO; Latibex: XTZA), one of the two largest producers of Spanish-language television programming in the world. In addition, HC2 Network has signed a definitive acquisition agreement with Northstar Media, LLC (“Northstar”), a licensee of numerous broadcast television licenses in the United States.
Under the agreement with Azteca, which closed today, HC2 Network acquired Azteca America, a Spanish-language broadcast network providing original content to the Hispanic audience in the United States. Under the agreement with Northstar, HC2 Network will acquire Northstar’s broadcast television stations, which carry Azteca America programming.
The Azteca transaction extends to the acquisition of professional staff across the U.S. involved in programming, marketing, advertising sales, finance and operations. The Northstar transaction, which is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), as well as other customary closing conditions, would result in HC2 Network acquiring 19 television stations, including two full-power stations, eight Class A stations and eight low power television (“LPTV”) stations, along with a channel share agreement for the full-power license of KEMO-TV in San Francisco.
In combination with HC2’s previously announced acquisitions of a controlling equity interest in DTV America Corporation, which currently carries Azteca video programming in 10 markets, and of the broadcasting assets of Mako Communications, LLC and its affiliates, Three Angels Broadcasting Network, Inc., and other station licensees, the acquisition of the 19 Northstar television stations would expand HC2’s broadcasting network to 113 operating stations, including three full-power stations (inclusive of the channel-share agreement for KEMO-TV in San Francisco), 27 Class A stations and 83 LPTV stations, in over 80 markets across the United States. In addition, the acquisitions increase HC2’s construction permits to 475, allowing for further buildout of coverage across the United States.
The Azteca transaction also includes multi-year programming and services agreement that provides HC2 with access to TV Azteca’s current programming and library in Mexico, including top entertainment shows, talk shows, reality programs, network and local news, as well as telenovelas and other scripted series.
“The acquisitions of Azteca America and the Northstar stations will substantially expand and accelerate our investment in broadcasting,” said Philip Falcone, HC2’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Throughout 2017, we have strategically acquired broadcast assets across the country. Our vision is to capitalize on the opportunities to bring valuable content to more viewers over-the-air and position the Company for the changing media landscape. Our licensing agreement with TV Azteca will enable our larger broadcast network to bring compelling, Spanish-language programming to even more of the large, growing and underserved Spanish-speaking population in the U.S. At the same time, the combination of our network assets will generate opportunities for cost synergies through the rationalization of duplicative operations.”
“Today’s announcement marks an exciting and transformative milestone in Azteca America’s history,” said Manuel Abud, President and CEO, Azteca America. “We believe HC2 Network’s long-term investment and resources better position us, on a greater scale, to be an industry leader delivering best-in-class programming, production value and marketing solutions to our audiences and partners alike. Our shared business strategies and industry expertise makes this a perfect alliance to meet the ever-changing demands of the marketplace and further solidify Azteca America as an industry leader in premium Spanish-language content.”
“This alliance unlocks new opportunities for TV Azteca to expand our distribution arm in the United States and provide our world-class programming to new audiences,” said Benjamin Salinas, Chief Executive Officer, TV Azteca. “We look forward to forging future content collaborations with HC2 and Azteca America.”
Subject to FCC consent, HC2 will acquire the following stations that are currently held by Northstar:
· KAXW-LD, Mullin, Texas
· KAZD (TV), Dallas, Texas
· KAZH-LP, McAllen, Texas
· KDFQ-LP, Prescott, Arizona
· KDFS-CD, Santa Maria, California
· KEMO-TV, San Francisco, California*
· KHDF-CD, Las Vegas, Nevada
· KLDF-CD, Lompoc, California
· KNWS-LP, Brownsville, Texas
· KPDF-CA, Phoenix, Arizona
· KQDF-LP, Albuquerque, New Mexico
· KSBO-CD, San Luis Obispo, California
· KVDF-CD, San Antonio, Texas
· KYAZ (TV), Houston, Texas
· KYDF-LP, Corpus Christi, Texas
· WQAW-LP, Lake Shore, Maryland
· WTNO-LP, New Orleans, Louisiana
· WUVM-LP, Atlanta, Georgia
· WXAX-CD, Tampa, Florida
*Under Channel Share Agreement