Royalties Row Fuels Univision Resignations

12 May 2005

A simmering boardroom battle at US Spanish language TV broadcaster Univision Communications has reached boiling point.

Emilio Azcarraga Jean, chairman of Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa which provides most of Univision's programming, has resigned from the Univision board together with his vice-chairman, Alfonso de Angotia.

The dispute has also spilled over into the courts as Televisa has filed a lawsuit alleging Univision to have shortchanged it to the tune of around $1.5 million (€1.16m; £796k) in program royalties.

No one from Televisa was willing to explain the resignations but some observers believe they may be a prelude to a bid for control of Univision.

The boardroom feud centres on Jean (37) and Televisa veteran chairman/ceo Jerrold Perenchio. The younger man believes the 74-year-old wields too much power and has refused to map out a succession plan.

Jean is also deeply unhappy at Perenchio's choice of president and chief operating officer, Ray Rodrigues, whom he appointed earlier this year.

Televisa has a 15% stake in Univision but its largest shareholder is Venevision of Venezuela.

A Univision spokesman has denied the allegations in the lawsuit and is looking forward to working with the "new board member and alternate [that] Televisa appoints to replace them".

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff