OK, so the short-term outlook for Univision isn't quite as good as previously thought. The market's overreaction to this news provides those of us with an investment horizon greater than two quarters an interesting opportunity. Granted, by most conventional means, Univision's stock appears overvalued. Even after Friday's drop, it trades for 41 times earnings, with an enterprise value roughly 29 times free cash flow. Plus, the company's $1.2 billion in long-term debt, and $2.2 billion in good will, might give some value investors an uneasy feeling.
Let's take a step back, though. Univision is the No. 1 media company serving the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population in the U.S. has risen 61% since 1990 to approximately 35 million people, 75% of whom are under 45 years old. Some studies expect the Hispanic population in the U.S. to triple by 2050, making it a key advertising market for U.S. companies.
The exploding Hispanic population is helping Univision quietly become a dominant media force. On Oct. 22, the finale of Univision's prime-time telenovela (soap opera) drew more viewers in its time slot nationwide than the three major networks, and in the third quarter, the company nabbed more Spanish-speaking viewers in key demographics than Disney's
Advertisers are taking notice. SABMiller just inked a $100 million advertising deal with Univision, giving it exclusive rights to the first half of the 2006 FIFA World Cup broadcast. (I know many Americans don't "get" soccer, so to understand the importance of the World Cup, try to imagine the NFL playoffs, only with more fans and more passion.) That both presidential candidates would give interviews on Univision's "Sabado Gigante" (Giant Saturday) is further testament to the importance of the Hispanic demographic.
After Friday's drubbing, Univision's stock looks like an attractive investment. The company's on a steep growth trajectory, being the primary media outlet for the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. Sure, it commands a high valuation, but as David Gardner rightly points out in his Rule Breakers newsletter, high P/E ratios are often misleading with growth companies, and Univision certainly qualifies as one of those.
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Fool contributor Chris Mallon enjoys watching Spanish TV and owns shares of Univision through his private investment partnership.