When the main players are Hulk Hogan suing your client, Gawker, over publishing an excerpt of his sex tape, backed by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, you know that your job finding a potential buyer for the company as an investment banker will be challenging.
Mark Patricof, head of the TMT practice at Houlihan Lokey, has written an account of trying to get the eventual $135m sale to Univision off the ground in the first place on Recode.
He called 30 people trying to find a buyer for Gawker: 10 said ‘no thank you’, 10 said they were curious, five were seriously interested and another five said: “If I saw Nick Denton walking across the street and I were driving a fast car ...”
The curious types understood Gawker’s value, but has a “bit of anxiety around the potential ramifications of associating with a “tainted” brand.”
Of the two eventual serious contenders, Ziff Davis was an aggressive “stalking-horse bidder”, while Univision stayed in the background “laying low, doing its work quietly.” Other bidders were covered in the media, but these were the only two that really competed and during the bankruptcy proceedings “both sides fought fairly with high integrity, intensity and spirit”.
Patricof says it was a “win-win” for both the journalists a Gawker – most whom kept their jobs, even if Gawker.com is no more – and Denton who is “now free to move forward”.
“Peter, Terry, their legal team and those who were offended, annoyed and insulted by Gawker over the years, I guess you can say they won, too. Gawker.com will no longer exist,” he said.
Separately, if you’re working as a dodgy stockbroker in the U.S. market, it’s still pretty easy to get away with it and move on to a new employer. The Securities Litigation and Securities Group has tracked the number of brokers being hired from 2006 until the end of June this year.
The actual numbers being hired have shrunk by around 55,000 annually since the glory days of 2006 – for obvious reasons - but the figure of those being hired after some sort of misconduct has remained constant at around 1,300 a year.
The conclusion? “Bad brokers who have been terminated after allegations seem to have no problem getting rehired.”
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