Donor profile: Jerry Perenchio

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Jerry Perenchio, former Chairman and CEO of Univision, is silhouetted over a backdrop of his personal home, the Kirkeby Estate, in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles.

 

Silhouetted image/1973 AP file

Ranking: 25

Total contributions to super PACs: $4.1 million*

Notable federal hard money and 527 contributions:

  • $4 million to Progress for America Voter Fund (links to Bush administration) (2004-2006)
  • $10,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (2011)

Notable state-level contributions:

  • $5.4 million to the California Republican Party
  • Nearly $600,000 to candidates including California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics

Corporate name: Chartwell Partners, LLC

Corporate subsidiaries: Chartwell Investment Partners

Total spent on federal lobbying (2007-2012): $0

Lobbying issues: N/A

Family: Wife Margaret, three children

Biography:

This former owner of Spanish-language television network Univision is known not only for his media business savvy but also for his real estate acquisitions. One of the largest private landowners in Malibu, Calif., according to Forbes, Andrew Jerrold “Jerry” Perenchio, 82, lives in the Bel Air home that was used for establishing shots in “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

Perenchio got his start as a talent agent for Music Corp. of America. He then formed his own company, Chartwell Artists. Perenchio represented the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando. He moved into sports promotion, having a hand in one of the biggest boxing matchups of all time, which pitted Muhammad Ali against Joe Frazier in 1971, Malibu Complete reported.           

In his first foray into television, Perenchio teamed up with producers Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin to establish Embassy Communications. They sold it to Coca-Cola in 1985 for $485 million.

Perenchio took that money in 1992 and teamed up with Venezuela’s Venevision and Mexico’s Televisa to buy several Spanish language stations, including the fledgling Univision station, then owned by Hallmark. This became the launching pad for Univision Communications, which came to control 80 percent of the Spanish-language television market, according to the International Directory of Business Biographies. Perenchio took the company public in 1996 as its CEO, chairman and controlling shareholder.

As the Italian-American head of a Spanish-language broadcaster who never learned to speak Spanish, Perenchio took heat both from Univision’s audience for his support of anti-immigration Republicans, such as former California Gov. Pete Wilson, and from conservatives, including Michelle Malkin at Free Republic, who criticized his opposition to various California propositions that would ban social services to illegal immigrants and abolish bilingual education. Perenchio’s views drew further criticism from Latinos as Univision grew and merged with the Hispanic Broadcasting Company, which was renamed Univision Radio, the Michigan Daily reported.

Univision sold in 2007 for $12.3 billion, with Perenchio collecting $1.3 billion for his stake, the Los Angeles Times reported. Perenchio is now CEO of Chartwell Partners, a boutique investment and holding firm specializing in media, entertainment and real estate, according to Forbes. Perenchio served as John McCain’s national finance co-chair during the Arizona Republican's 2008 presidential campaign, and he gives more generously to Republicans than Democrats.

Much of Perenchio’s giving has been through the Jerry Perenchio Living Trust.

Living trusts are established so that after one’s death, survivors don’t have to go through probate, the complicated legal process of validating and executing the deceased person’s will via the court system. The larger one’s estate, the more complicated probate is; therefore, a person like Perenchio with a high-value estate potentially saves his family hassle by placing his property in a trust that, upon his death, can be distributed without court supervision and with less public visibility.

Last updated: Jan. 30, 2013

*2011-2012 election cycle. Source: Center for Responsive Politics and Center for Public Integrity analysis of Federal Election Commission records. Totals include contributions from individuals, family members and corporations that are controlled by the individual super donor.