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Harvard Ups Stake In Spanish TV Station

By Nicholas M. Ciarelli, Crimson Staff Writer

At the Harvard Management Company, the head of the household walked out last year for a new life at a start-up hedge fund. A wealthy and well dressed outsider took his place. One might say that life among the University’s endowment managers has come to resemble a Spanish-language soap opera.

Now, the University’s own holdings are moving that way as well. Harvard’s investment in Univision Communications Inc., the Spanish-language broadcaster, swelled during the fiscal quarter that ended Sept. 30 to become its 13th largest stake in a publicly traded company, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

That investment would be worth $32.4 million at the close of trading yesterday, if the University has maintained its holdings in Univision.

Univision is the largest Spanish-language TV broadcaster in the U.S. The firm and its chief rival, Telemundo, have both courted Hispanic audiences in the U.S. by airing popular “telenovelas”—steamy, inexpensively produced soap operas in Spanish.

But Harvard’s new stake isn’t likely to last for long. On Sept. 27, Univision’s shareholders voted to approve a $12.3 billion acquisition by a group of private investors led by Texas Pacific Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners. If approved by the Federal Communications Commission, the acquisition could be finalized by the spring.

The president of the Harvard Management Company, Jack R. Meyer, left in 2005 after a 15-year stint at the firm’s helm. His replacement as endowment chief was former bond manager Mohamed A. El-Erian, who built a formidable record while managing over $28 billion in emerging market debt at Pacific Investment Management Company.

El-Erian did not return a request for comment about Harvard’s Univision investment last night.

—Staff writer Nicholas M. Ciarelli can be reached at ciarelli@fas.harvard.edu.

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