Gawker has learned that Avid Life Media, the owner of sites including HotorNot.com and Ashley Madison, has partnered with two prominent gossip bloggers to put in a $20 million bid to acquire PerezHilton.com.
Avid Life’s spokesperson, Steph Davidson, confirmed to us this morning that the company has teamed with Zack Taylor—gossip blogger and proprietor of ZackTaylor.ca—and Nik Richie, who runs the gossip site TheDirty.com, to make a bid for PerezHilton.com. Davidson also confirmed that a Letter of Intent was submitted to Perez and his attorneys earlier this week, and that Avid Life is now just waiting for a response.
We have obtained a copy of that Letter of Intent. It says that Avid Life subsidiary Eight Days Inc., along with Zack Taylor and Dirty World LLC, are offering Perez $20 million—$18 million up front, and $2 million in escrow for a year—for PerezHilton.com.
The letter states that “The Purchaser presently intends to continue, in the normal course, the employment of all employees of the Business from and after the Closing Date.” But it also says that following the purchase, Zack Taylor and Nik Richie “will operate the business.” It’s our understanding that the intention is to use the PerezHilton.com address as a sort of massive traffic-forwarding address to a new gossip site run by Taylor and Richie. What role (if any) Perez Hilton himself would have in this is unclear; Avid Life’s Davidson said that she couldn’t say, because they don’t know yet.
Major caveats: This offer could be more of a PR stunt than anything else. Gaining some media coverage for this could be a great way to, say, get a lot of free advertising for a new site that Taylor, Richie, and Avid Life wanted to launch. It’s unclear if Perez is interested in selling his site. And without knowing what Perez’s role post-sale would be, it’s hard to say whether the offer is a viable one or not. A year ago, 24/7 Wall Street estimated PerezHilton.com’s value at $32 million, and that number would presumably be higher now. Then again, such outside estimates of closely held internet companies are notoriously tricky; $20 million could well be more realistic. And while gossip bloggers themselves may be prone to PR stunts, Avid Life is a very real player: It paid $20 million for HotorNot.com two years ago.
We’ve emailed Perez Hilton for comment, and we’ll update with any response. The Letter of Intent, which is addressed to Perez’s attorney, Todd Rubenstein of Morris Yorn Barnes & Levine, is here.
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