The Walt Disney Co. is in talks to sell off its stake in Fusion, the joint venture between Univision and the Disney-owned ABC News that was launched in 2013 via cable TV and online.
According to a report by CNBC, Disney is intent on selling its stake before the end of the year, although it is unclear what the asking price is. One possible scenario, according to multiple reports, is that Univision Communications, which has been preparing to unveil a public stock offering, would purchase Disney’s share of Fusion.
Originally created to serve the elusive millennial demographic, Fusion shares its 150,000 square-foot facility in Doral with Univision News. Fusion laid off at least 30 full-time employees in September, canceled several of its TV programs and established a new focus for 2016 on the presidential election, investigative specials and topical comedy. The channel has also placed an emphasis on investigative mini-series, such as the upcoming eight-part documentary Real Future, which looks at the ways in which people use cutting-edge technology.
The station’s online audience has grown from 5.8 million in July 2015 to 8.3 million in September, according to Fusion CEO Isaac Lee. In October, Lee also announced the network’s reach had grown to nearly 40 million homes in the U.S. In July, the network received two News & Documentary Emmy Award nominations for its documentary Pimp City: A Journey to the Center of the Sex Slave Trade.
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Fusion’s three Twitter feeds have 245,000 combined followers. Across all platforms, Lee claims the network currently reaches 25 million people a month. In 2014, Fusion generated $28 million in revenue and spent $63 million, resulting in a loss of $35 million, according to an SEC report.
A potential sale by Disney could impact some of Fusion’s programs, including its weekly Nightline on Fusion, a collaboration with ABC News in New York.
In its most recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, dated Nov. 2, Univision reported revenue of $2,122.5 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2015., an adjusted OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amoritization) of $976.6 million, adjusted free cash flow of $344.7 million and a net loss of $16.6 million.
Representatives for Univision and Fusion declined to comment for this story.