New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson, released a letter sent to Senator Tom Daschle and Representative Nancy Pelosi in support of Univision Communications Inc.'s (NYSE: UVN) proposed merger with Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (NYSE: HSP).
The text of the letter follows:
June 4, 2003
Dear Senator Daschle and Representative Pelosi:
As the only Hispanic State Governor -- and a senior Democratic elected official -- I wholeheartedly support the pending merger of Univision and Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC). This pro-competitive combination will result in a Hispanic-run company with the resources to attract new advertisers and better serve this country's 37 million Hispanics.
Programming By Hispanics, For Hispanics: More than 80% of Univision's employees are Hispanic, including the Presidents of all three of its business units. As the single largest employer of Hispanics in the broadcast industry, as well as a leading source in fostering the development of young Hispanic producers, directors, writers and journalists in the U.S. today, Univision's unique dedication to the celebration of Hispanic culture and language has been a source of pride for the entire community. This merger will increase, not decrease media opportunities for Hispanics.
Univision Serves The Hispanic Community: Univision's award-winning, non-partisan news and information is an invaluable resource to all U.S. Hispanics. The Company is scrupulously fair and balanced in its coverage of politics, something important to me and to anyone who believes that the Democratic party needs to reach out more effectively to Latino audiences. Univision Chairman Jerry Perenchio's personal commitment to the Hispanic community, along with the Company's extensive
involvement in outreach activities and public affairs projects -- such as voter registration and numerous public service announcements -- sets it apart from any other Spanish or English-language media organization.
Competition Is At The Core Of This Merger: Since most Hispanics in this country also speak English, Spanish-language media companies must fight every day against the English-language media conglomerates for audience and advertisers. But clearly there is not a level playing field today-- Univision currently represents 5% of all primetime viewing in the U.S., but receives less than 2% of total advertising dollars. With this merger, a Hispanic-run media company will finally have the scale and scope to attract those national marketers that currently advertise only on English-language media.
Hispanics Should Not Be Subjected To A Double Standard: Federal authorities have traditionally allowed the English-language television networks to purchase radio stations -- and they recently allowed General Electric to buy the #2 Spanish-language television network when it already owns NBC, the #1 English-language television network. Why should Univision be barred from doing what the English-language media giants have done? Why shouldn't a Hispanic media company get a chance to compete on an equal footing against Disney, Viacom, News Corporation, AOL Time
Warner and the rest of the media establishment?
The Univision-HBC merger will advance the quality of Hispanic media in this country and improve Univision's ability to compete effectively against the English-language media goliaths. This merger is a major positive for the Hispanic community, and I urge you to support it.
/s/ Bill Richardson
State of New Mexico