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Ziff Daviss Challenged by Univision in bid for Gawker: Reuters

Ziff Daviss Challenged by Univision in bid for Gawker: Reuters
A $90 million stalking horse bid from media company Ziff Davis LLC has been challenged by Univision Holdings Inc which has offered to acquire Gawker Media LLC, Reuters reported quoting sources, in the auction for the U.S. internet publisher.
Univision is not shying away from a news brand that has often courted controversy to build a cult readership and the fact that the U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster is seeking to expand its digital media properties is clearly illustrated by Univision's bid for Gawker.
However Univision's sole bid shows that interest in the auction was otherwise limited despite the media hype that is usually associated with Gawker. There was a concrete list of 40 potential buyers that are planned to be targets for marketing the company, an investment banker representing Gawker said in court last month.
Since the bankruptcy auction is still in progress, Reuters did not disclose the identity of the sources. There were no immediate comments available from Univision and Gawker. Reports about Univision’s offer for Gawker were earlier reported in the Forbes magazine.
With a prepackaged acquisition proposal from Ziff Davis, the floor for any other offers at the bankruptcy auction was set after Gawker had filed for bankruptcy in June.
Following an invasion of privacy lawsuit from former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan over the publication of excerpts from a sex tape, there was a $140 million court judgment that the New York-based publisher faced which they said they could not pay and therefore sought bankruptcy.

An early backer of Facebook Inc and a co-founder of PayPal, billionaire investor Peter Thiel had bankrolled the Hogan's lawsuit. Earlier this month, a suit for personal bankruptcy was filed by Gawker Media CEO Nick Denton.
Popular women's website Jezebel, sports site Deadspin and automobile enthusiast site Jalopnik were included in the bids for Gawker.
The bid auction is to take place in private at the offices of Gawker's bankruptcy attorneys and it is anticipated that Ziff Davis can also raise its initial bid at the auction. A winning bid and back up bid will then be selected. Subsequently, in bankruptcy court on Aug. 18., a U.S. judge will have to approve the proposal selected by the attorneys.
Developing a direct, conversational and sometimes-slashing style that dispensed with many journalistic conventions and was widely imitated, Gawker and Denton were influential forces in the growth of online media. It was also one of the few early digital publishers to build a profitable independent business even though its eagerness to dish salacious gossip was often condemned.
Ziff Davis now produces consumer technology websites, including AskMen, Computer Shopper and and he was once a powerful technology trade publisher and he went through bankruptcy of its own in 2008.
Owner of a Spanish language broadcast network, Univision, sometimes beats English language U.S. broadcasters such as NBC in the primetime ratings race. Apart from several cable networks and a stable of Spanish radio stations, the company also owns another broadcast channel called UniMas. Univision also acquired a minority stake in satirical website publisher Onion Inc. earlier this year.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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