Univision Postpones IPO

Univision Communications  postponed plans for a 2015 initial public offering due to the lackluster recent performance of media-company stocks and a sluggish market for first-time share sales.

The Spanish-language broadcaster's board met on Thursday and discussed the issue, people familiar with the matter said. The company is leaving its options open for a debut early next year, one of them added.

Univision, which went private in the leveraged-buyout boom that preceded the financial crisis, initially had plans to launch its IPO shortly after Labor Day. But growing skittishness among investors caused the company to hold off, people familiar with the company's thinking have said.

Downward revisions of profit guidance from media heavyweights like Walt Disney and Time Warner in the last few months have pressured industry valuations and highlighted to investors the growing unpredictability of the long-steady pay-television business. The companies' disclosures sparked greater investor worry about the acceleration of "cord-cutting," or people dropping their pay TV subscriptions, and "cord-shaving," as people downgrade to cheaper bundles with fewer channels.

In pushing back the deal until next year, Univison joins other private-equity backed companies including Neiman Marcus Group and Albertsons that had prepared for IPOs late this year but opted to wait. Albertsons' deal was pulled the night it was due to price, with the company citing difficult market conditions and a dour forecast by rival Wal-Mart Stores. Others, including Petco Holdings, have abandoned IPOs when suitable offers to acquire the entire company materialized.

First Data Corp, which did complete its IPO in October, priced its shares below the expected range, and saw the shares slip in first-day trading. The shares have since recovered somewhat, and are up 6% from their debut price, though still below their original range.

The IPO market has been buffeted by volatility in stocks broadly, as well as by the rich valuations of many companies preparing to go public.

A particular challenge for Univision and other private-equity owned IPOs has been investor uncertainty about interest rates. With the Federal Reserve possibly raising rates later this month, investors worry that the huge debt loads of these companies, a legacy of their buyouts, could become more expensive or difficult to refinance.

Univision's owners--including billionaire Haim Saban, Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG and Thomas H. Lee Partners--have been searching for an exit for years. The group took Univision private in early 2007 in a $13.7 billion deal that loaded up the company with debt just before the onset of the financial crisis.

Write to Shalini Ramachandran at shalini.ramachandran@wsj.com, Telis Demos at telis.demos@wsj.com and Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com