Univision bids for Gawker, challenging Ziff Davis: sources

Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:31pm EDT
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By Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Univision Holdings Inc (UVN.N: Quote) has offered to acquire Gawker Media LLC, challenging a $90 million stalking horse bid from media company Ziff Davis LLC in the auction for the U.S. internet publisher, people familiar with the matter said.

Univision's bid for Gawker illustrates how the U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster is seeking to expand its digital media properties, and is not shying away from a news brand that has often courted controversy to build a cult readership.

Despite the media hype that is usually associated with Gawker, however, Univision's sole bid shows that interest in the auction was otherwise limited. An investment banker representing Gawker said in court last month that he had a list of 40 potential buyers he planned to market the company to.

The sources asked not to be identified because the bankruptcy auction is still in progress. Univision and Gawker offered no immediate comment. Forbes magazine previously reported that Univision had made an offer for Gawker.

Gawker filed for bankruptcy in June, with a prepackaged acquisition proposal from Ziff Davis, setting the floor for any other offers at the bankruptcy auction.

The New York-based publisher sought bankruptcy after facing a $140 million court judgment following an invasion of privacy lawsuit from former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan over the publication of excerpts from a sex tape.

Hogan's lawsuit was bankrolled by billionaire investor Peter Thiel, an early backer of Facebook Inc (FB.O: Quote) and a co-founder of PayPal (PYPL.O: Quote). Gawker Media CEO Nick Denton filed for personal bankruptcy earlier this month.

Bids for Gawker, which also includes popular women's website Jezebel, sports site Deadspin and automobile enthusiast site Jalopnik, were due on Monday.   Continued...

Nick Denton, founder of Gawker, talks with his legal team before Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, testifies in court, in St Petersburg, Florida.  

REUTERS/Tampa Bay Times/John Pendygraft/Pool