Univision Communications Inc. announced that it has entered the music recording and publishing businesses through the creation of the Univision Music Group. The new Univision division will be led by music industry veteran, Jose Behar, and will be headquartered in Los Angeles. Univision has also reached an agreement to acquire a 50% interest in Monterrey, Mexico-based Disa Records, S.A. de C.V., the second largest independent Spanish-language record label in the world, from the Chavez family. The Chavez family will maintain a 50% ownership in Disa Records and will continue to manage the business. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Univision also announced that it has entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with Universal Music Group, a unit of Vivendi Universal (Paris Stock Exchange and NYSE: V), in the United States and Puerto Rico, and an exclusive licensing agreement with Universal outside the United States and Puerto Rico. Disa Records has also reached a distribution agreement with Universal in the United States and Puerto Rico. In Mexico, Disa Records will continue to function as a fully integrated record label.
“Univision’s entry into Spanish-language music is a natural extension of our business and clearly positions the Company as a broad-based, multifaceted entertainment company,” said A. Jerrold Perenchio, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Univision. “Our agreement with Disa, which has a successful history of representing many of the leading regional Mexican artists, combined with our exclusive arrangement with Universal Music Group, will give Univision an immediate presence in the music industry and an outstanding platform to leverage our strong brand and reach throughout the world.”
“Our agreement with Univision will provide us with the resources to accelerate Disa’s growth and become a natural destination for all of Mexico’s regional music artists,” said Patricia Chavez, Chief Executive Officer of Disa Records. “We are proud to be partnering with Univision, whose reputation among the Hispanic community is second to none, and look forward to working together to meet the world’s increasing demand for Spanish-language music. Along with the clout of Univision, we are thrilled to have Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company, as our distributor in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.”
Disa Records currently represents more than 50 artists, including Los Angeles Azules, Grupo Bryndis, Liberacion, El Poder del Norte, Los Cardenales de Nuevo Leon, Los Askis, Los Llayras, Palomo, Rayito Colombiano, Miguel y Miguel, Los Reyes del Camino, Luis y Julian, Viento y Sol, Hector Montemayor, La Tropa Ballenata and Vagon Chicano. The Company also has a vast editorial library as well as an extensive music catalog that contains masters from such artists as Los Temerarios, Bronco, Los Acosta, Los Traileros del Norte, Tropical Panama, Samuray and many other artists.
Perenchio continued: “I am also pleased that Jose Behar will lead the new Univision division. His track record in the Spanish-language music industry is unparalleled, having launched and built EMI’s extremely successful Latin music label. Jose has also been credited as one of the pioneers in the Latin music crossover movement. We are delighted that he will spearhead this endeavor and look forward to his leadership as we continue to provide the growing Hispanic community with additional first-rate entertainment offerings.”
Zach Horowitz, President and Chief Operating Officer, Universal Music Group said, “We are delighted that Univision and Disa have chosen to form this strategic alliance with the Universal Music Group. The arrangement makes Universal the clear No.2 distributor of Latin music in the U.S. The Chavez family has already built Disa into a powerhouse and the label is poised for even greater growth with the clout of Univision and Universal’s distribution company behind it. We are also thrilled to help in the launch of the new Univision record label. Jose Behar has proven himself especially adept at developing Latin artists with international appeal. Our new global arrangement with him and Univision will allow us to participate in their success.”
“I have always admired Univision for its efforts to advance the interests of the Hispanic community,” said Behar. “I am thrilled to now have the opportunity to be part of a Company with such an outstanding reputation for producing quality entertainment for the Spanish-speaking world and look forward to helping the Univision Music Group grow into the premier music and publishing company.”
Prior to joining Univision, Jose Behar was President and Chief Executive Officer of EMI Latin Records from 1989 to March 2001. Under Behar’s leadership, EMI Latin was responsible for discovering and/or developing the careers of such top talents as Selena, Jon Secada, Barrio Boyzz, Intocable, Kumbia Kings, Los Tucanes de Tijuana, Carlos Ponce, Oscar De La Hoya, Graciela Beltran, Vico C, Millie, Thalia, Carlos Vives, JYVE V and Ednita Nazario, among others, in addition to special projects such as the 1996 Olympics CD, Voces Unidas, an all-star lineup of Latin superstars featuring Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias and Placido Domingo.