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Morning Coffee: Inside the most high-profile deal of the year. You can still get hired as a dirty trader

Gawker sale

“If I saw Nick Denton walking across the street and I were driving a fast car ...”

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.”

Meanwhile: 

The new thing – jumping on a ponzi scheme, riding big profits and then jumping off before it goes all wrong (Bloomberg)

Star hedge fund managers are a moving target – one moment you’re hot, the next you’re decidedly average (Economist)

Macro uncertain means that a European M&A rebound is very unlikely (WSJ)

Masters of the Universe are confused: “Markets are eagerly awaiting some clarity. Investors “are a little bit tired, a little bit struggling to know how to weigh the many views that are being shared and the debates that are going on in public.” (Bloomberg)

Liontree, the boutique telecoms and media advisory firm, has hired Lyle Ayres to lead a new sports advisory practice (Financial Times)

Brexiteers should stop gloating, and Remainers should quit all the doomongering. The UK economy is in a “holding pattern” until the post-Brexit world takes shape (Financial News)

Putnam Investments has hired former Morgan Stanley investment banker, Gregory Fleming, to its board of directors (Financial News)

“This doesn’t look like your year…There’s a perception that you rubbed some people the wrong way. They’re looking for a rainmaker.” (WSJ)

If you could just take the printer out the back of the office and smash it to pieces with a pipe….that would be great. (WSJ)

Photo: franckreporter/Getty Images

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