Univision appears to be beefing up for what could be a much-anticipated initial public offering after purchasing Gawker Media for $135 million.
Jerrold Bregman, a bankruptcy expert at Brutzkus Gubner, thinks that an upcoming IPO would be an obvious reason why Univision decided to purchase Gawker Media but close flagship Gawker.com. Bregman feels the decision to shut Gawker.com is simply a “pragmatic, forward-thinking business decision” because having a website tainted by a major legal loss would be a distraction.
“The decision to close and discontinue that website may be tied to the upcoming liquidity event in the following way: They may conclude that continuing operations of that particular website has associated liability risks, which are legacy risks, even though they bought the asset free and clear of actual pre-existing liability,” Bregman told TheWrap. “They may feel the publication itself is a bit of a lightning rod.”
A Florida jury awarded Hulk Hogan $140 million in damages earlier this year after Gawker posted a sex tape of the wrestler.
Univision postponed an IPO back in December of 2015, because of what the Wall Street Journal called “the lackluster recent performance of media-company stocks and a sluggish market for first-time share sales.” In April of this year, Bloomberg reported that Univision was aiming to go public in the second half of 2016.
Univision did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Most of Univision’s revenue comes from traditional TV advertising and cable subscriptions, but it is clearly aware that it needs a presence in non-cable mediums in the media world.
Univision has been on a spending spree in 2016, acquiring new assets to increase it’s overall portfolio. The company bought The Onion in January and bought out Disney’s portion of Fusion in April. It also acquired The Root, a publication aimed at African-Americans.
Now you can add Gawker Media’s Deadspin, Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Kotaku, and Lifehacker to the fold.